What does love mean? Ask a child

Did you know that the average heart beats more than 100,000 times a day? In the next 24 hours, yours will pump nearly 2,000 gallons of blood, two-and-a-half ounces at a time. By the time you’re 70, it will have beaten 2.5 billion times and pumped 50 million gallons, in a feat of unrelenting endurance that puts other muscles to shame.

Your heart’s incessant beating tells the world that you’re alive. That’s one reason many ancient Greek physicians thought your heart was the seat of your soul — the vital, central, innermost part of you.

Of course, the heart is still the symbolic seat of love. It’s the place where we find courage (“take heart”), show compassion (“have a heart”) and discover hopes and dreams (“our heart’s desires”). It’s also the truth that defines who we are deep down (in our “heart of hearts”).

And in our community, as in any other small community, it’s the people who “have a heart” for their neighbors and fellow Pagosans who inspire movement and keep Pagosa moving forward. You are a people after my own heart. So, I wish you a heartfelt Happy Valentine’s Day.

What does love mean? A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4- to 8-year-olds. The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis, too. That’s love.” — Rebecca, age 8.

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” — Billy, age 4.

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” — Karl, age 5.

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” — Chrissy, age 6.

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired. ”— Terri, age 4.

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay.”— Danny, age 7.

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” — Bobby, age 7.

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.” — Nikka, age 6.

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But, if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”— Jessica, age 8.

The PLPOA monthly board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. today in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comments are heard at the beginning of the meeting.