love is a verb

saturday special
notes from maggie's farm

"What is love?", he asked me. "What, really, is love?"  I remember the question well. Worried that I might answer incorrectly. Worried that my words would be inadequate. Worried, perhaps, that my love would be inadequate. 
We eventually came to a consensus. -Journal, January 2006

I always, at this time of year, find myself thinking about love.  What is love?

I mean, I think I love a lot of things.  I love my husband, and my dogs, my family, Van Morrison, shopping for antiques, cheese, football, God, my friends, sunshine on my shoulders, hiking, and the park.

Not all equally.  Not all in the same way.

We've probably all gotten to the age where we know the differences in storge, or familial love, eros, or romantic love,  philial, or true friendship, and agape, or charitable love.  We may not have heard the terms, but we know that there are differences in the ways we show, and feel, love.

Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.  -C.S. Lewis
Lately, though a great place to begin, the names of types of love have not been adequate for me to describe love.  I've struggled to find a way to express love in as few words as possible (imagine that), to encompass love.  I believe I've settled on this:

Love is a verb.
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? -Buddha
Love is not a condition, or a feeling, or a fluttering, or a thing.  Those are all parts of love, but to me, Love is action.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to love with a group of Austin foodies, journalists, writers, photographers, bloggers, and all around fine people, the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, this week, past.  We volunteered with the Capital Area Food Bank, sorting close to 10K pounds of food in two hours.

Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved... Love, therefore, is its own reward. -Thomas Merton

True charity, of course, is giving without thought of what one gets in return, so, in this case, the evening was not all charity.  It was soul-gratifying fellowship that just happened to benefit others.  I was so blessed to be working side by side with brothers and sisters, laughing and sweating a little, for a good cause.

The CAFB is in dire need of volunteers.  During the recent Souperbowl of Caring campaign, greater than 1,000,000 meals were donated, and all those cans need sorting, stocking, stacking, and more.  Consider acting in love this year, by spending your time, alone, or in concert with a group of like-minded friends, at CAFB, or your local area food bank.  You'll get back so much more than you give.  Your gift of love to others will ultimately be your gift of love to self.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. -Mother Teresa
Recommended Reading
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, Karen Armstrong
Find Your Local Food Bank: Feeding America
The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis
          Austin Food Bloggers Alliance: Touchdown!


  1. Maggie -
    This is just wonderful! I'm so glad I could work beside you and our fellow AFBA-ers for the evening and I look forward to our next Philanthropy event together! Oh what we can accomplish when we work together!

  2. Thank you so much! You can definitely count me in on the next event. It's a joy to work with you.

    It's an honor!

  3. Fantastic post and wonderful insight. "Love is a verb" Love is action - so powerful. Maggie you continue to inspire and motivate me.

  4. Love the quotes, especially the one from Mother Theresa at the bottom, (so true for me) and the one from you at the top. (the one attributed to Journal -- I assume that is from you?)

    Very beautifully articulate, deep and so universal.

  5. Thank you so much, ladies. Your kind words just set the tone for the whole day! I guess when we get to a certain "age", we've experienced the ins and outs of all kinds of love and have a little perspective, no?

    I really enjoyed gathering the quotes for this post. Steph, I'd been formulating that thought, Love is a verb, since a conversation I had with my then-fiance-now-husband, about how, although he didn't say it all the time, I felt his love more than people in my life who never ceased to say it, but ceased to ACT it. Yep, Leslie, that was from my journal years ago. I've been kind of playing around writing a piece based on that scene in my writing group.

    Thank you all for stopping by this chilly morning--Stay warm!


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