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'All You Need Is Love'

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February is upon us, a month found right in the heart of winter. Short days. Cold nights. Snow. Ice. Sleet. That is if you live in New England, at least. The silver lining of February of course is the 14th. Valentine's Day. Which seems to take over the entire month. A reminder, or perhaps a blessing, that love prevails even in the deepest, darkest, coldest moments of our lives-like is the month of February. A day dedicated to love. A day also dedicated to symbols of love: Cupid, pink, red, candy, hearts, roses and gifts. But are these truly the symbols of love?

What are true symbols of love? I couldn't agree more with Paul McCartney's famous line, "All you need is love." Love is all around us. Love is where life lives. Of course, in order for McCartney's words to ring true we must truly understand the definition of the word "love." Love is not just a word we say. There are those who throw the term around loosely, "love ya." Or those who use it to get out of something, "I'm sorry, I love you so much." Or those who say it with no feeling behind it, "Yea. Love you too." In order for love to be all you need, love then needs to be everything, and it is.

Love is not always kisses and hugs. Love is not necessarily a big, gorgeous wedding. Love is not sunshine and roses for days. Love is not everything being perfect all of the time. Love is a choice and it takes work. It takes work to truly love.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is never boastful. But it continues far beyond this famous bible verse. Love is... understanding, compassionate, empathetic, trustworthy, tolerant, peaceful, loyal, hopeful... the list goes on and on. Love is all encompassing. Love is buying a cup of coffee for a homeless person. Love is truly understanding other people's differences. Love is accepting those whose values we don't necessarily agree with. Love is helping someone in need. Love is smiling at someone who is frowning.

Love is transformative. Love takes work. It takes work to remember every moment of your life that it is a choice to love those around you and an understanding that this is more than just saying 'I love you.' It is a choice not to judge. It is a choice to be understanding. It is a choice to decide to treat others with kindness.

And so, in the end, love is all you need, because love is everything.

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