'Live and Let Love': Stories about Finding It, Keeping It and Appreciating It

PHOTO: A book cover of Live and Let Love: Notes from Extraordinary Women on the Layers, the Laughter, and the Litter of Love. Edited and with an introduction by Andrea Buchanan.
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Author Andrea Buchanan compiled honest and compelling stories about love from a soldier's wife, an award-winning actress and a college student.

Read an excerpt "Live and Let Love" below, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library

Live and Let Love

There is nothing more universal than love. It's what we desire to feel, adore to bestow, fight to achieve, and grieve when it's gone. Some would say love is the reason we are here . . . to give and receive it.

Since the dawn of humankind, love has been studied, pondered, pontificated and written about by scholars and sages of antiquity. From Aristotle to Austen to Ephron, love unadorned and unrequited has been in style. The Holy Bible is one of the oldest texts to talk about love and can likely be credited with starting the infinite fad: love is essential to living a faithful life. One passage I find particularly striking in its definition of love and its meaning was written by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians:13.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I can remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. I first started to understand that passage when I was fourteen years old. Saint Paul imparted to me that even with exalted powers, and surrounded by gifts, without love everything else is meaningless. I grew up in Texas and I had "found God" in a small, nondenominational Bible church. No one else in my family went to church but me. I was in search of meaning and had deep questions about faith, but I also had a crush on a boy, who would become my high school sweetheart. He was fifteen, had a car, and I was allowed to ride in it with him as long as I went to church and came straight home. So I did, religiously, to every Sunday service (morning and night) and Wednesday evenings for Bible Study. I would hold Ben's hand on our car rides, and during the Sunday youth group pizza parties. Early on in this phase, I memorized I Corinthians: 13, and would recite it to myself. I was falling in love for the first time and I felt that the words in Corinthians had been written just for me. It was a magical time and I can still recall the way I felt when I was around Ben like it was yesterday. It was so new, so innocent and pure. Whether we were driving with the windows down on a hot Texas summer night, or enjoying a first kiss under the bleachers after a Friday night football game, or discovering one another under the blankets on a van ride to Colorado, falling in love for the first time was a religious experience.

Six years and a couple of painful breakups later, Ben and I had moved on to different colleges and other relationships. God, as defined by the Church, became less important to me. Love, on the other hand, was still a supremely high priority.

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