Abstract nouns are hardest to use well. Like love. Our use of love tends to be lazy.
Well. I know that the sentence was concerning our usage of "love" in what we write, but of course my mind started to wander. I thought that sentence perfectly describes our (or at least my) everyday life. Love is hard to use well.
I am guilty as charged. I say "I love you Mom and Dad," in one breath and then turn around to say "Ohemgoodness I love that TV show!" in the next. I just like to love things, so I will admit my contribution to cheapening the word. But I'm not the only one guilty here, people. Now I've never said those words to someone in THE BIG WAY, but how many people have you seen say, "I LOVE YOU AHHH" all over Facebook to their significant other and then after the breakup schmear (yes I consider that to be a real word) their ex any chance they get? Or friends who say "I love you and don't know what I'd do without you!" and two months later could not care less about the well-being of that same person. Obviously hurt feelings happen and emotions run high in those situations initially, but I think with time, eventually, you have to think:
Hey. I told that person those three little words at one point. And that wasn't just a flaky statement, that was a promise.
I think when you say those words to someone, whether that be your boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, brother, sister, friend, roommates, teammate, or dog (haha), you are making a promise. Easy to say, hard to do. You are promising, "I'm going to always be patient with you!" and "I won't get jealous of you, won't constantly try to one-up you, and will never think of myself as more important than you!" Yikes. Those are big promises, and that's only the beginning. With those words you're also promising:
"I won't be rude to you."
"I won't expect anything back for stuff I do for you."
"I won't jump to angry conclusions with you."
"I won't keep track of stuff that you do wrong. I'll forgive you every time."
"I'll tell you the truth and be honest with you."
"I'll protect you and your reputation when I talk to you and about you."
"I'll trust you, and trust that God has a plan for you."
"I will hope for the best for you, and always assume the best about you."
"I will always hang in there with you, and I'm always on your side."
"I won't ever fail you. You can count on me."
Wait. So it doesn't mean "I love you, except when you mess up and I don't feel like acting like it anymore." And it doesn't mean "I love you, but when you annoy me I reserve the right to be rude and angry at your stupid habits." Shoooooot. That makes it a whole lot harder.
But as we know, love is a hard word to use well.
Maybe we should be more careful about using love well even though, as my professor highlighted and I've discovered, it is an arduous job. It's difficult. But I think if we can even start to chip away at living up to that list, when we stop using love in a lazy way, we start to reflect the one who loves us perfectly. And that makes it worth it.
Because while love is a difficult noun to use well, it's the greatest noun of them all.