So Love is one little four letter word. And it means SO MUCH.
So we have the kind of love we have for our Mams and Dads; a kind of needy love to begin with, a deep love that has enourmous elasticity and sometimes causes immense pain. A mother’s love is so potent and selfless, a father’s love so peace giving, hopeful and desired. (I realise I’m talking about almost ideals here, but not impossibilities and not spotless perfections)
We have the kind of love we have for our Siblings; not too far from the parent type love but often gets off to a rockier start, a beautiful kind of relationship is possible here though, something that doesn’t compare to ANYTHING else. It’s more indelible than friendship (not that those can’t last) there’s a kind of kindred spirit in sibling relationships that could stand in the face of ANYTHING and remain. I think the reason so many siblings fight is that what COULD be is so powerful and life giving that the devil does anything he can to derail it.
Then Friendship; where feeling understood and accepted feeds into all kinds of trust, shared experiences and journeys, where a heart for something is shared, a wavelength shared… this is about a kind of communion between people that is chosen rather than inevitable and can be such a source of joy, humour, colour and challenge.
There’s Charitable love, where our hearts are stirred for others, just because they are human and so are we, and the beauty of this kind of love shouldn’t be under-estimated… it can swiftly grow into friendship and without it we would cease to be human. It often hurts our already exhausted hearts, but it’s also far too easy to be come de-sensitised, and put up barriers.
There’s Romantic love. Eros Love. Venus Love. So hard to describe and understand. It’s not just about desire and attraction. It’s far more sacrificial than that, far more engaging, enriching, costly, vulnerable. It needs all the elements of friendship, and often develops out of friendship, it’s intense and funny, like fire because it consumes yet gives heat, it must be nurtured in the right kind of environment, it’s about intimacy and desire that leads to becoming one and it has the potential to tear a persons heart to shreds. Sex is not dirty, it can be dangerous, it is a big deal and it is an amazing gift. It unites people in an irreversible way so it should only be done with one person and it’s really important. It’s an important part of Euros love but it doesn’t create (make) love. It can exist without love; which is tragic.
There’s the love we have of money, comfort, THINGS. This is a bit sad, it’s unrequited, but easy to fall into in our consumerist society. It is not life giving like the other kinds of love but it is costly, we gradually become engrossed and there’s no obvious escape or upper limit. We think it’s comparatively risk free, but possessions can let us down just as much as humans can.
There’s our love for and from God. This is the reason that we exist. God decided to create because He wanted to love us and be loved by us. This is interesting because it’s s unbalanced. God loves us unconditionally and unfailingly. Vastly and sacrificially, while we love God sporadically and selfishly, obsessed with trying to prove ourselves to him, or else we are completely apathetic. When we love God truly it’s freeing and exciting and the relationship is powerful and exhilarating.
Love can be received or given, demanded or withheld, rebuffed, or accepted expressed or hidden.
Love can be communicated in many ways, Touch, Time, Words, Acts of service, Gifts.
How do we do it? Can we learn it? Does it just happen? What is is made of? How can we trust it? Can it be permanent? Can it be destroyed? Why is it so important to us?
John says that ‘God is Love’
Paul says that ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.’
John also says: ‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.’ (this doesn’t mean we have to die on a cross, it just means make sacrifices for others, put others before ourselves, which is so counter-cultural)
And ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’
“We love because it’s the only true adventure.” – Nikki Giovanni
Paul again: ‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’
“Attention is the most basic form of love; through it we bless and are blessed.” – John Tarrant
“Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it…It really is worth fighting for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk everything, you risk even more.” – Erica Jong
“Love is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day.” – Nicholas Sparks
“To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven.” – Karen Sunde
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” -C. S. Lewis
“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained”- C. S. Lewis
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.”- Washington Irving
“Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.”- Joyce Brothers
So Love is about Sacrifice, Communication, Commitment, Vulnerability, Sharing, Trust, Fun, Choice and Intimacy?