We typically associate love with romance like the love between a husband and wife or intimate partners. We think of love as something that grows over time. Love, however, is also a feeling that can be felt instantly. It takes on many different faces and is not only a romantic feeling. I felt love and saw the face of love the other day in a total stranger.
Her name is Karen. She works at one of the branches of my city library. She had a big smile and a big heart, both could light up a room. I knew she had a big heart not because of the patriotic heart embroidered on the sweater she was wearing, but by her actions. My husband and I were in a meeting room when the door opened. Karen did not see us in there but we saw her and something compelled us to go over to her. We said hello, explained why we were there and before we knew it we were sharing our stories with each other and made a true connection. We had no other purpose for being there other than to look at this meeting room for an upcoming event when suddenly our conversation shifted. David mentioned that we were interested in knowing how to make a book donation. Without hesitation, Karen offered to introduce us to the librarian who could help us. Karen introduced us and we talked with her and made arrangements to drop off our books. Something then made me ask if she was the same person who could help us if we wanted to plan a book signing/Meet the Author event. She said, “No, but Karen could lead you to the person who could help you with that.” Karen led us to an office but the door to the office was closed. Karen asked us to wait a few minutes while she went in to see if this other woman was there. When Karen came back out, she escorted us to the office of the Asst. Library Director who gladly and warmly invited us into her office. I turned to Karen to say thank you and reached out to hug her. She allowed me to embrace her and I said, “Thank you for opening the door.” She responded, “Literally and figuratively.” And when we sat down with the Asst. Library Director, she thought we had known Karen for along time and had not seen each other in a while based on the way Karen spoke of us to her.
This experience made me recognize that love is undefined. We can’t define love just one way or contain it to a ‘holiday’ devoted to lovers. Love is what was shared in the library that day between a group of strangers who were just trying to help each other. It made me realize that we can feel love in almost any situation with anyone when we lead with our heart. If you can’t see a person’s heart or feel their love, you might want to look for it on their sweater.