I think this phrase has turned into such a cliche, a cheapened, reduced version of its true self.
It's used to sign off greeting cards, splashed on gift wrap, thoughtlessly dashed off at the end of a note.
But what does it truly mean to love, always?
Let's say, hypothetically, I wrote a note to someone I loved deeply, and signed off with "love always".
That would mean I'm bound to keep my word and, well, love him always.
Even when he's late for dinner.
Even when he leaves the toilet seat up.
Even when his socks stay in a messy heap, like very flat roadkill, on the living room floor.
Even when he's sick and can't even cough without sneezing, let alone say "I love you, too."
Even when life is average, everything is going smoothly and there is none of what a friend calls "mushi mushi" (as in how my dad sometimes picks up the phone) stuff to make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside about each other.
Even when life is downright lousy, with work stress, problems with parents, and friends who seem more interested in telling you what to do than in being with you.
How about family? Can I truly say "love, always" ... even when they don't seem to have time for me? Even when they don't do something they'd promised they would? Even when they just can't be and do everything I wish they could, simply because they're also only human?
To the people around me, can I truly say, "love, always"? As in, "I love you, when you're able to sit down with me for hours over coffee and just laugh. But I also love you when you say something hurtful about my ambition and dreams."
"I love you when you're efficient at work and willing to have lunch at an inexpensive place, and I love you even if today you can't say a nice thing about anyone, including me, because you're just too hurt by what's going on in your home."
"I love you and constantly want the best for you, no matter what happens."
I think if we were forced to expand the two-word phrase to this whole sentence, a lot of us would be much less willing to use it, because we'd suddenly realise the implications.
It isn't easy, but I believe it's a worthy pursuit.
Am I truly able to love ... always?