I have watched many post the question, what is love? I think it is personal to every individual and it evolves for us as we grow and change. Just as we can never know the true measure of our strength until it is tried, I have found that everything I thought I knew about love grew deeper when I was hurt the most.

In my career as a performer I have sung many songs of every style. People have always praised my ability to connect to music and make the emotion real. Some music I truly felt. A lot of it was just good interpretation and training. But a few years ago when I turned 40, I suffered a series of betrayals from someone that was so deep and so nasty and so wicked that even my closest of friends said they would have either gone mad or done something far worse in revenge.

I loved someone more than they loved them self and it cost me everything but my own life. For several months everything that was me fell silent- lost in the fog of another person’s mental illness. Something I found out about after the relationship, and tried to help even after damage was done to my life, and in the end got severely burned for trying.

My emotions ran very raw for a while. It wasn’t anger. I was in mourning because in spite of the hurt done to me, I did not know how or what I could have done or tried differently that could have helped her while still being truthful in honoring who and what I am. For some people, they all but consume the person they love. It is a sickness. The first song I sang when I finally found my voice again was Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. The words of that song mean a lot to me. Here is a portion:

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, Ive been afraid of changing
cause Ive built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
And Im getting older too

I would never want anyone to go through what I went through. But if you ask me how I became the person that is able to love and write so deeply today, this is why. Out of the hurt, the pain, and the despair, I learned a deeper measure of love, forgiveness, understanding, and peace not just for her, but for myself. Life is about knowing what bags are worthy of carrying into the future. And mine are full of the secrets of life.

There is no simple answer to what is love. It is only important that we love the best that we know how. And to let wisdom guide us. And to allow grace to comfort us. The rest is just living.