Massive subject - miniscule input!
Talking this morning to a lovely, kindly, supportive and well-intentioned member of the clergy, who having spotted that I was less than full of joy informed me that I was loved by many people including him. This as a relatively new Christian still leaves me feeling at a loss as to how to respond.
The idea that one's social contacts, I hardly dare call them friends as yet, feel love for all their peers, still is a weird concept for one who has never used the term lightly.
While recognizing that there are many types and degrees of love, the christian brotherhood/sisterhood variety still feels alien to my upbringing and the idea of publicly acknowledging the existence of such a bond fills me with nervous trepidation.
Never a demonstrative type (in public), and with a healthy respect for others' "space", I nevertheless find since the loss of my husband, that one of the most important losses after the initial greatest one, is the loss of human touch.
For me this is a pretty steep learning curve and whether I'll ever be a ready "hugger and kisser" is doubtful, but I greatly value the loving kindness of those who are not so afflicted and have to admit to feeling better for the hugs, handclasps and smiles which come my way quite unsolicited.
Is it really love or is it the desire to empathise with those seen to be in need of visible overtures of friendship?
I don't know, the jury is still out, but whatever it is, it is heart and spirit warming and - by me at least - very welcome.