Many of us probably think of love as roses and hearts and chocolate and romance and diamonds and whatnot. That is a singularly Western view of love, but besides that, love is so much more. We like to think of all the sweet aspects of love—
Love is a cup of tea to go with your biscotti. It sweetens and softens and warms what would otherwise be hard and dry.
Love is a fuzzy blanket on a cold day. It envelopes you with comfort. It gives security, rest, and peace.
Love is rain at the end of drought. It renews and revives from the wasteland of despair. It washes your soul fresh with its hope.
But love has another aspect—the facet that has given us the phrase “tough love.”
Love is hydrogen peroxide on our wounds. It helps us clean away the mess and prevent infection. It gives perspective to our gritty offenses so they can heal.
Love is medicine to cure us of illness. Its bitter taste, though not enjoyable, brings back health.
Love is a vaccination needle. It may need to sting for a moment to protect us from greater pain. Its hurt is for our good.
Love is an amputating saw. It cuts things out of our lives that would bring us to ruin if left untended. It purges us of wrong priorities, rotten attitudes, and selfish perspectives.
Love is a stop sign. It warns us of danger, not to restrict, but to protect. It teaches discipline, not abandon.
Love is a Rubik’s cube. It is multi-faceted, colorful, and complex. Impossible to figure out, it often seems. But soft love and tough love both are necessary for a balanced whole.