Love is an unexplaining word.

Isn’t that a nice line? It’s from one of my dad’s college journals, back when he first came to America. His fourth year of English and he came up with love is an unexplaining word. Magical, isnt it? His writing just sounds so eloquent.

In that same journal entry, my dad also wrote that he has a “big love” with my mom and his lack of knowledge of the English language led to some pretty fancily broken English. That’s okay though, I really love listening to it.

I think my dad may have been on to something with that phrase. In different languages, there are different interpretations or even words for “love”. In Vietnamese, we have yêu and thương. In Greek, there is erosphilialudusagapepragma, and philautia. In Hebrew, there’s ahab and hesed. So you see, there’s a lot of love, but in English, we just have love. So I think love is a very unexplaining word.

There’s the love you have for your parents, natural and filial. The love you have for best friends and close ones, built on trust. The love you have for those you look up to, respectful and full of admiration (cough me and President Obama cough). So there’s a ton of ways to say I love you, but only one way to actually say it. 

I never really connected those dots. That’s why I say I love you. Because growing up and  knowing there were multiple words for different expressions of love, made me really comfortable with why I felt free saying it, unbound by the fact that I love you is kind of crazy to hear as often as I say it.

A lot of the times when I say I love you, I really mean I care for you, but you can’t say “Alright bye friend, I care for you”. Or maybe you can, but it sure does sound odd. So I’ve switched over to saying “bye, be safe” because it’s a subtle way to care for someone’s well-being and show that you have their best interest in mind which ultimately, is an act of love…right?

On the flip side, I’m also a really loving person, which definitely contributes to my frequent bursts of love. It’s funny though, because you don’t ever say I love you in Vietnamese. Most Asian cultures don’t really express love as freely as Western cultures do. It’s a tough love kind of thing-your parents don’t really tuck you in and say “I love you” as often as the parents on Disney do. You don’t really say “I love you mom, bye!” as you rush out the door. Acts of love speak louder than words and so by working hard to put food on the table and pay for your education is their silent I love you. It took me a long time to realize that, but maybe that can be another blog post too.

I’ll never have said enough on my relationship with love, because love, my friends, is an quite an unexplaining word.



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