The Most Revered Virtue of All

Several years ago, I read a book entitled, Serpentine, written by the now-deceased but extremely talented author Thomas Thompson. This particular book was about a serial killer of European-Asian descent who crisscrossed across two continents preying upon and murdering many people. I do not remember much about this riveting read of long ago except for one salient point which seared in my brain. Like most sociopaths, the predator did not care about the human qualities of his victims except, hypothetically, on one occasion. If I recall correctly, he met a couple who were elderly and extremely devoted to one another. For some reason, which baffled those involved in the pursuit of this menace, he spared their lives, permanently leaving them untouched. Mr. Thompson masterfully raised the question about the power of love having some impact in deterring the killer.

Can Love Permeate The Impenetrable?

Many will balk and say that sociopaths are reptilian and eat their own, never mind strangers in their path. They might go on to say that sociopaths do not care about or recognize love as they methodically partake in the most heinous crime of all. I understand these doubters and wonder to myself why that couple, knowing so many loving people die at the hands of murderers. With that said, could the power of love and being in the right place at the right time have permeated what may have seemed impenetrable? We will never know.

What we do know is that love in all its glory often creates a power that supersedes boundaries of so-called limitations.

Over the years, I have witnessed this at various points. The inexplicable often happens, and like the couple spared in Serpentine, the healing power of love may defy all expectations. I often speak about one situation from long ago, where an adoptive mother’s enduring love of a very damaged child created an improved prognosis against the conclusions of the professionals. A few years later, there was a plane crash in which every passenger perished except for one little girl. In a desperate attempt to save her beloved child, the mother covered her with her own body. Love is a driving force.

The Potency of Love

As someone who believes in its potency in all forms, I have been and remain open to the possibilities. It is the virtue that stands tall among the others. Yes, all attributes have their place, but several people join me in saying it is love. Most of those who are people of faith would concur, but even from a secular view, love is dominating energy.

Back in the 1990s, The Boston Globe interviewed Sophie Freud, a Clinical Social Worker, and Sigmund Freud’s granddaughter. She discussed the phenomena of transference and countertransference, which is part of the therapeutic relationship. I will never forget that she viewed this process as being a form of love. As a therapist and a client of one, I couldn’t agree more. The healing elements of this corrective experience truly have no bounds.

Different Manifestations of Love

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we cannot forget the legend of St. Valentine, whom I wrote about in an article last year, Love In All Its Glory. Allegedly, he was so committed to those who wished to marry that he gave his life in the name of love. Many others have done the same. We know that love reveals itself in various forms. Romantic, maternal, and familial are at the forefront, but there are others. Consider our military, who often provide the ultimate sacrifice for love of country and citizenship. Where there is no family, friends offer a committed and steady love for each other. Although human love can be all-encompassing, we should not forget that our species is not alone in displaying love. Often, we hear stories about our four-legged companions who come in harm’s way in the name of loyalty, and, yes, love.

Think of Others

As you celebrate the virtue of love on February 14th, think about those who could use a loving gesture, a smile, a thank you, and a genuine compliment. Sometimes those actions or words have more loving power than you will ever know.

To the most revered virtue of all, love! Happy Valentine’s Day!


Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett views herself as a life-long learner, a pursuer of excellence, a work-in-progress, and a seeker-of-the-truth. For over thirty years, she has been assisting people to get unstuck. Darlene's primary professional role has been as a Therapist, but now she includes Author and Writer. In 2011, Darlene began putting her thoughts on paper and hasn’t stopped. Many of her blogs can also be found on Sixty and Me, Medium, and Penning these articles set the stage for her first book, Stop Depriving The World of You, traditionally published by Sound Wisdom. Throughout her career, Darlene has been described as animated or effervescent which contradicts the perception of a psychotherapist. She firmly believes in the importance of being authentic and discusses platinum-style authenticity in her book. As a believer in pushing oneself as long as one has life, Darlene’s first novel, Visible Forever, will be published in the spring of 2024 by WordCrafts Press.

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  1. Darlene, thank you for sharing this heartfelt piece, especially so close to Valentine’s Day. It is a great reminder to stop, take a breath, and count our blessings. I, for one, needed this nugget of tranquility today. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos and busyness of life, and harder to take that step back and savor the moments. Of course, the latter being something that many of us should do more often.

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Darlene! I wish you all the best.

    • Thank you, dear Laura, as always for your thoughtful comments. As always, I appreciate it. All of us need to take a breath. Thank you for the reminder. Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day Laura!

  2. Darlene – A great way to live: “think about those who could use a loving gesture, a smile, a thank you, and a genuine compliment. Sometimes those actions or words have more loving power than you will ever know.” Sometimes we overlook what is so easy. Thank you for a heartfelt piece.

    • Thank you lovely Maureen! Happy Valentine’s Day to you also. I am most pleased you enjoyed it. I will take your beautiful sprinklings and send them back to you. Your comment made my evening! With a smile, Darlene

  3. Thank you for this interesting perspective on love-as a virtue that can possibly transcend “evil.” or those actions of “tortured souls” or sociopaths-pathological people. This theme emerges in some of the worlds most watched films including the Star Wars series and the Harry Potter series. We watch characters work to transcend their darker ways-including the “heroes and heroines.” Courage seems to walk hand in hand with love. I’m not certain the two can really be completely separated.

    I’m reminded of a friend who told me about being robbed at gun point. He knew when the robber returned his eye glasses to him that he wouldn’t be killed. He lived through that terrifying experience. I believe his love for his wife (who was on a difficult journey with breast cancer at the time) and his love for his children/grandchildren and his love for his own life-may have saved him from being murdered. He lost his wallet, but not his life. And, in this situation, courage absolutely rose powerfully in his ability to interact with the robber -from a place of one man to another man…one human being to another. I won’t know for certain, but like you’ve shared here-there’s something transcendent about the power and energy of love.

    • Thank you, Laura, for sharing this remarkable story! We do not always know what does it, but your friend’s courage and love do appear to have saved his life. Indeed, the power of love often has no bounds. As always, I appreciate your heart-felt insights!💖