"Oh, we're not dating, we're just friends."
Just? My best friend and still one of my closest friends is Trygve, who is male, and we have never dated. There have been times between bad relationships that we've idly wondered what it would like to date someone sane, i.e. each other, but we both were happy with being friends. I love him dearly, even though I only get to talk to him about once a quarter.
There's love between friends as well; I've witnessed that love save a life in the past few weeks. I don't get where the "just" comes in. I love my friends fiercely, although it can take quite a bit of time to get close enough to me for me to consider you a friend.
Somehow, the word "love" has been translated into something that only happens when there's sex involved, although it's OK to love your kids. Philios, the love of friends, has been sadly discounted and ignored in our society. And that's not only sad, I think it's tragic.
The human capacity to love has been discounted and narrowly defined. This has greatly diminished the power of Love. I love my spice, I love my daughter, and I love my friends and will do everything within my power to help when they are ill or in danger. Sometimes that means finding the right people to actually provide the help; sometimes it means making my house a safe space, sometimes it means showing up with a pot of soup. Sometimes it means telling a friend something that they don't want to hear, but need to know.
Valentine's day is a Hallmark holiday. I don't celebrate it, except to give a gift to my daughter. Love shouldn't be confined to a day, or the bedroom, or any other strictures. Love is so much bigger than that. How have we allowed it to be so narrowly defined?
Personally, I'm expanding my definition of Love. I'm going to make sure that my friends know they're loved and cared for. The isolation of the modern world makes it all to easy to become impersonal, and I'm tired of it. I love my friends, and that doesn't mean that I'm always going to be sticky sweet. Sometimes, it can even be kind of harsh. But it comes from the fact that I care about these people, and they're important enough to me that I should be able to acknowledge it without feeling bashful about it.
And without drinking Budweiser.
I don't know everyone on my friends list well, but chances are, if we've had significant interaction, I love you guys too.