Funny how love is declared nowadays. Anything that mentions love is almost always considered as “hugot”. And when it is “hugot”, it automatically becomes a butt of the joke. Sometimes though those who would actually joke about love are the ones who have problems with love or love life or no love life at all and even since birth that is.

Consider this line about being sincere, “Ang pag-ibig parang ferris wheel, akala mo pinapasaya ka, pinapaikot ka lang pala.” And this one about being taken for granted, “Ang relasyon parang kape yan, lumalamig kapag napapabayaan.” How about this on being truthful, “Marami na ang naloko sa ‘I love you’, pero mas marami pa ang naloko sa ‘on the way na ako.” Last but not the least, “Alin ang mas mahirap, ang mag-move on o mag-diet.”

Find them funny? Are you asking where did I get those “hugot” lines? From chocolate bar wrappers!

Love and chocolates, they do mix. Especially that it is this month that they now call as “Feb-ibig”, er, February. And that overrated day called “Valentine’s Day.” I do not know why some people would consider it as the fakest of all celebrations. Do we just sound so bitter?

But while we are at it, let me share with you two marks of what love truly is. And when you get them both, I think, love is fulfilled in you. Dalawang mukha ng totoong pag-ibig.

Miriam is a young professional. For quite so many years now, she has been taking care of her elderly mother who had been paralyzed. Miriam took it upon herself to bring her mother for a regular medical checkup. Sometimes they would drive while at other times she would just book a cab to bring her mom to the doctor. It is no easy task for Miriam. But complaining is not in her vocabulary either. One ordinary day, Miriam hailed a taxi together with her mom for a checkup. She had to literally lift her mom in order to get inside the car.

While on that trip, Miriam noticed the cab driver wiping tears while manning the wheels. Miriam got curious as she was worried looking at the driver. “Are you okay, manong?”, asked Miriam. The driver replied instantly, “Masuwerte ka, naaalagaan mo ang magulang mo. Ang tatay ko suffered a stroke several months ago, he died too soon. Hindi ko man lang siya naalagaan. Gusto ko pa sanang ipadama sa kanya na mahal ko siya.”

Upon hearing this, Miriam got flat-footed herself. With all the hardships and sacrifices, everything just turned bearable and meaningful. She felt fulfilled showing such kind of love to her parent.

On the news that a good old friend was diagnosed with cancer, I immediately thought of making a visit. Upon seeing her, I felt my heart breaking. She is undergoing chemotherapy. The once thick and rich hair was gone. I was not able to utter a word to comfort my friend. Instead, she was the one who broke the ice of conversation.

“Father, if you are thinking kung nagtatanong ba ako sa Diyos kung bakit nangyari sa akin ito … hindi naman po ako nagdududa sa Kanya. Alam kong mahal Niya ako at meron po Siyang magandang plano sa akin.” I never uttered anything in reply. I just kept looking at her. Napatunganga na lang ako.

In my heart though, there was only amazement to the profound strength that I exquisitely observed from her. I was in a hurry to catch a flight so my visit was rather quick. I embraced my friend and prayed over her.

As I was leaving, she was clasping my hand telling me silently not to leave quickly. While on the road yet, she sent me this message: “Father maraming Salamat po sa pagdalaw. Di mo lng alam n sobrang saya ko khit saglit. Salamat sa prayers at sa ngyari sa akin lalo kong minahal ang Diyos. Sa mga kasama ko sa chemo room na pinanghihinaan ng loob sa pagkukuwentuhan nmin nkikita ko n napapangiti cla. Basta ang alam ko Mahal ako ng Diyos ano man ang mangyari… Tagal mo po ako pinaiyak pero sa katuwaan.Kung loloobin ng Panginoon pg malakas nko mg seserve p din ako… Walang kasing sarap at kasing saya ang mglingkod.” … Enough said.

For Miriam, love is profoundly expressed with sacrifice… in suffering even. For my friend, it is about not giving up and always hoping that the best is yet to come. In both, true love brings real happiness.

May each heart be filled with this kind of love too.

Happy Heart’s Day! Have a real good one kind of love.