From time to time I wax poetic about emotions. Perhaps it is because I am aging, or perhaps everyone gets sentimental from every now and again. This is a discussion of love and the many forms it takes; I declare seven.

The first love that I can remember was so far back in my life that I cannot remember when it started. That love I shared with my parents. My mother’s embrace; caring, soothing, always there. My father’s protecting aura; constant, strong and safe. I live far from my parents now, but they are always close.

That love is enduring, it can never be broken.

The second love I recognized was the love of family. My brother, sister, grand parents; always part of my life, even when I wanted to get away. The family is strength. They build up and bring back down to Earth. The greatest joys of my life were in November of 1990, September of 1992 and January of 1996 with the births of my children. The heaviest loss in my life was the death of my brother. November of 1992 was the lowest month of my life.

That love is enduring, it can never fade.

Then I learned to love my friends. Voluntarily putting my emotions in the hands of other was a challenge. The relationships that I have enjoyed have been so fulfilling. Friends who I reconnect with time after time. Each time I have had to move, the separation of those relationships has been painful. When I moved in 1978 as a child, those pains were deep. I searched out several of those friends to reconnect through summer trips and eventually inclusion in my marriage celebration.

That love is enduring, it is a gift of self.

As I moved into the world, and became independent, I learned of self love. I thought I could stand alone. I fought the good fights, when I had to. I loved life and learned to believe in myself. The loss of that love is the loss of self.

That love has to endure, it is self fulfilling.

In the fall of 1987, I learned of a new love. I gave my whole being. In the summer of 1988, I learned what it meant to cleave to another, to cease to be two and become one. I love my wife so deeply that I do not know how we will go on when one of us has passed.

That love is enduring, it makes me complete.

Through out my life, I have learned why and how America is special. In the summer of 1969, I saw the courage, ingenuity and perseverance of an entire country come to fruition on the Sea of Tranquility. In the Fall of 2001, I saw what separated us from a large portion of the world. We care for strangers, we unite in disaster.

That love endures, it is what makes us great.

Although I have been Roman Catholic all of my life, it was only in name. The care of my children, the desire to separate wrong from right, the need for a higher authority, drove me back to the church. The love of God is all love combined. The stranger becomes you neighbor, your neighbor becomes your brother, your country becomes something to fight for.

That love is enduring, it is freely given, all you have to do is receive it.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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