Love Is a Verb

Sarah Stadler - Allison Park, Pennsylvania
Entered on June 2, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: love
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Using the word love comes too easy. I know, I use it hundreds of times a day to describe anything: “I love this book,” “I love chocolate,” or even “I love summer.” But love is so much more than that. How can loving minor things like chocolate and summer even compare with saying, “I love him” or “I love my wife”? The love that matters is the unfathomable adoration shown and received among you and people around you who care about you.

I once witnessed this kind of love when my family and I went on a two-week mission trip to an orphanage in Jamaica. The children living there were poor, uneducated, and abandoned, or separated from families who could not put food in their mouths.

After staying there for two weeks I was dirty and dehydrated. I wondered, “How can I ever live my life from this point forward and not be disgusted with the silly things I complain about when I have seen these unfortunate kids? I will never be the same.”

I thought not having any running water and a constant food supply was horrible, but these children seemed happy even in the midst of all their pain. They didn’t need TV, computers, good grades, and even perfect hygiene to look beautiful and have people look on them with love. They had an inner beauty that meant more than any of their physical features ever could. They knew they were loved, and in return they gave this love to me every day.

An eight-year-old girl whom I became very close to was sitting on my lap one day when she smiled at me and gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. Later in the week she drew me a picture of Jesus and wrote “Love, Shanice” on it in big, yellow letters. Through her actions and the huge smile on her face, I could feel the love Shanice felt—the love she wanted to share with me.

I decided to thank the children for sharing their love with me by handing out toy stuffed lambs. The kids were all so thankful to have their own little lamb to love and hold. The girls were so excited that they posed with the lambs for pictures, and the boys hid a smile, trying not to show how much they liked them. After a few hours I saw the boys and girls playing together, pushing their lambs down the slide, and even buckling them into a red wagon.

I knew that I had shown love to these kids, and I felt better than any time I had just told someone I loved them, because I gave love away. I used love not as a noun or an adjective to describe my feelings, but as a verb.

I believe it’s important to show love every day and receive it, because I believe love is more than a word; it’s an action.

Sarah Stadler is a junior at Hampton High School in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. She is interested in pediatrics, and her goal is to travel the world, serving kids in need of medical aid. When not working at school, Miss Stadler enjoys playing the flute and the oboe, volunteering, and hanging with her friends.