Lately, I have been deeply puzzled by the attitude people have towards love; not just romantic love, but love for humanity.
I have experienced beautiful connections with others in the unlikeliest of ways and the most arbitrary of settings. A meeting at work leaves me in deep awe and admiration for my colleague’s talents. An hour-long heart-to-heart with my best friend calms me and restores my sanity. A genuinely affectionate exchange with a friend can keep me going for a week. I may be single, but I see so clearly these forces in operation, balancing and adjusting to care for me. I am happy, and so, so grateful and humbled to have the connections I do with those closest to my heart.
Yet, I am puzzled by those who think that being this way is abnormal. I am bewildered by the expectation that love should be allotted only to those related to us, those of a certain status, those of a certain religious or ethnic background, or only the fully able-bodied. What is this Truth we go around espousing, if we don’t keep our hearts open both for giving and receiving?
I sometimes feel as though we are grotesquely disregarding the most magnificent gift of all: the ability to form deep, enduring connections with people, connections that will help us rise, improve, and become better beings.
On this Valentine’s Day, I give thanks to Allah for the presence of people in my life who have taught me to love, who have made me feel beautiful, seen, heard, and fully acknowledged. I pray that we all learn to cultivate and cherish such connections, and that we all learn to open our hearts and submit to our God-given ability to love humanity unconditionally.