Since caves, humans have explored, defined, studied, expressed, searched, dreamed, lived, and died for love. It has caused entire civilizations to thrive, or wither. It is in the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, and other sacred texts. Shakespeare, Hugo, and Dickinson shared it with millions. With its power, leaders like Ghandi, King, Mandela, and Golda Meir have moved millions.
Humanity exists because of love.
What follows are folks who love their husbands, wives, children, friends, partners, animals, and purpose in life.
written and photographed by Karim Shamsi-Basha
“We love each other because we are one. Each of us makes up a portion that makes the others whole. We complete each other,” Michael says.
“We love each other because no matter what frowns life throws, we are the funniest three people in the world. No matter where we are, hundreds of giggles later we can erase all the hardships. We are each other’s best friends, hearts, and happiness. Being a dance teacher, we have dance parties in my bedroom where we act like fools,” Madelyn says.
Photo courtesy of Alabama News Center
During my Civil Rights Experience in Selma, I ironically saw the love of mankind among people of all races. Despite the struggle, Love was showing because of kindness and love. Dr. King taught us to be Christ-like. “And the greatestof these is love.”
“I love all my children,” Marie says. “I love Suki because of how she reminds me daily of Christ and His suffering. She is the epitome of grace, strength, and faith. Suki loves me because I fight for her rights, protect her from danger, and stand by her through the darkest moments.”
“My two precious grandchildren are sweet boys who must overcome problems that were not their fault. I love the good days when their laughter fills my heart, and the not-so-good days when I hold on tight and whisper in their ears ‘I love you no matter what,’” Claudia says.
“I have loved Beverly since the third grade,” Aubrey says. “I love her because of her grace, and she loves me because of my sense of humor. I make her laugh. When you laugh together, your love gets you through the tough times.”
“My son, Grant, is my heart, literally,” Melanie says. “He has the same heart I do—for life, people, and especially animals. Our dog, Gabe, is unconditional love personified. He has endured many surgeries with genetic problems. He’s our miracle.”
“We have an everlasting bond of unconditional love, which makes us one. It’s the forever kind of love that’s at the end of those fairy tale stories. We grew up in a very small town in Lebanon and went through so much together including war. Losing everything taught us the most important thing in life is our family,” Mimie says.
“I love Matt because he makes me feel at peace. Our love for one another is founded in God’s love. Matt enriches and energizes my life, and he daily nourishes my soul with his servant’s heart,” Heather says.
“Love is very important for my family. Since we were little, it was instilled in us. Close friends are family also,” Bayan says.
“Our love started from an honest friendship and grew from there. That friendship has remained the foundation of our marriage and keeps us honest and humble,” Andi says.
“I love puppies because they deserve an advocate. They’re a lot like children—voiceless, innocent, loving, and giving us much in return. We also learn from them. Lana came from extreme abuse, yet she trusts and loves humans still. If she can forgive all of that, why can’t we forgive our very minor grievances?” Katie says.
“We were inseparable from the moment we were aware of each other. She died in November of 2010 due to breast cancer. She was smart, humble, funny, and had a well-developed sense of justice and humanity. She made me a better person. Our nine years in cancer were the sweetest years together,” Kay says.
“When my wife, Sue, was diagnosed with dementia, our two daughters and I only loved her more,” Al says. “Our family’s quality of life is enriched by CARES (Caring for Adults through Respite, Enrichment, and Socialization). The love Collat Jewish Family Services provides us with makes us better caregivers.”