We were sprawled across the armchairs—three of us, me and Mark and Lorelle—late one sophomore night on the 3rd vanReken lobby when I asked, “In one sentence, just one sentence, with no extra explanation, how would you define love?” and we all answered different ways.
Me: The willingness to kill, live, and die for something.
Mark: Coziness, comfortableness, and flourishing. To allow someone to experience that.
Lorelle: An infallible connection founded in strong emotion.
We might as well have been defining different words.
* * *
I’ve collected almost fifty definitions since then. Fifty people, fifty answers. None of them identical.
Love is when you weigh the equation of value toward your partner.
Love is an unending force passed from one generation to another.
Love doesn’t exist.
To love is to acknowledge, surrender, and lose.
We promise love between sheets and in delivery rooms and at hospital bedsides. We say “God is love” and “the greatest of these is love.” But when it comes down to it, whenever we talk about love, none of us are really saying the same thing.
* * *
I gathered sentences for five years, trundling them out for late nights and campfires. I even wrote a story about one of them. But for most of their lives, those sentences gathered dust.
So over the past few months, in the hours between writing and working and hiking, I developed Love is a Sentence. It’s a website and a post office box. It’s a box of index cards and a scanner. It’s a place to see how other people define love, and it’s a place to share your own sentence.
I don’t know where Love is a Sentence will lead. Maybe it’ll still something just for me, or maybe others might find it and value it. But I want to find out. It’s time to brush off the dust and share these sentences and it’s time to get other people involved.
Have your own sentence? The only rules:
Love is a Sentence
P.O. Box 283
Southworth, WA 98386
NPR called Josh “a modern-day Jack Kerouac” after he wrote about his 7,000-mile, no-money hitchhiking journey through the United States. After hitchhiking, he found homes in the Pacific Northwest, the Episcopal Church, and the post calvin. He now helps authors introduce their books to the world as the marketing manager for HarperCollins Leadership, builds websites as the owner of Branded Look LLC, and makes trail maps as the owner of Where We’ve Been Trail Maps. Josh’s writing has appeared in places such as The Emerson Review, Front Porch Review, and Perspectives.