What is Love?

What is love?

"What is love" is a question asked by many (thanks for the catchy tune Haddaway)- and it's helpful for us to pause and reflect on a word we use all the time. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, the red and glittery aisles in every department store ensure that love is definitely on the brain. Are you also a little tired, a bit frustrated, and maybe even cynical about how love seems to just be communicated as cheesy cards, boxed chocolates, and over-priced flowers? 

At Hope Restored Canada, we are convinced that love is so much more than what can just be bought, wrapped, packaged, and held. So if love, the deep, raw, real kind, is more expansive, how can we describe it? 


Kids, in all their wisdom, have taken a swing at it. Here are some of their precious reflections

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore.  So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” - Rebecca, age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.  You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”  - Billy, age 4

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” - Mary Ann, age 4

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” - Karen, age 7

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.” - Mark, age 6

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” - Bobby, age 7

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.” - Nikka, age 6

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”  - Tommy, age 6

It is incredible to ponder at how many hours over the centuries have been spent by people - authors, poets, scholars, artists, awe-struck or lamenting lovers - all attempting to describe love. In the tradition of Jesus followers, great lengths are taken to describe authentic love in 1 Corinthians 13

No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. [... Love] always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies.

At our January "Partnering to Make a Difference" event, our panel was asked what their advice would be to the audience for moving forward in ending sexual exploitation and pursuing holistic restoration for all. One of our panelists encouraged us to "grow in love" because truly, that is what motivates us in this fight. If we are abiding deeply in an overflowing well of love, that love equips and propels us to share love in abundance with those we meet - those in our communities, our friends and families, survivors of sexual exploitation, and those who purchase or profit from the selling of sexual services. 

Becca Stevens (founder of Thistle Farms: "the largest social enterprise in the US run by survivors of abuse, addiction, prostitution, and trafficking"), in her book Love Healsdescribes how "Love heals with compassion. Love heals during the act of forgiving. Love heals past our fears. Love heals across the world." With a world full of wounds, we long for the healing that love ushers in.  

Of course, love operates most effectively when it is guided by truth and wisdom. With this in mind, we invite you to join us at Hope Restored Canada's upcoming Summit, March 3rd. Come "grow in hope, be equipped, and respond to eradicate sex trafficking in Canada". Tickets can be purchased through Persephone Theatre here. (Note: Early Bird Registration rate ends on February 22nd. Regular registration rate available Feb 23-March 3rd.) Further equipping and learning is available on March 2nd, with Street Smart Defender training, Module 2 (Outreach and Advocate) training, and Hotline training.

We invite you to partner with us in "growing in love".

Will you join us?