LOVE ACTUALLY?

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Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward. ~ Thomas Merton

Yesterday was perfect book weather. The steel-gray sky threatening icy rain gave me permission to curl up on the couch, sip hot coffee and indulge in a couple of books. I alternated between Normandie Fischer’s, Sailing Out of the Darkness, and Steven James’s, Sailing Between the Stars. Hmmmm, I wonder if my subconscious is trying to tell me something?

Any way, James made a point in his book that made me stop and think, (actually, he makes a lot of points that makes me stop and think). He wrote that the opposite of music isn’t silence—it’s noise. A sour note that ruins the harmony and distorts the melody.

After I read that I thought about what the opposite of love might be. Some would say hate. But I don’t think so. To me the opposite of love isn’t hate—it’s selfishness. It’s the what’s in it for me mindset.

The problem is with the English language. We say we love everything. We love our warm socks, our pets, traveling, chocolate, riding our bikes, our mate, our children. But does our use of love there mean the same thing for all the above?

No.

In the Greek language there are many words for love. Smart Greeks.

What they are passionate for they use eros. Whom they are fond of as friends they use phileo. Natural love of family is Storgeo. But the highest form of love— the sacrificial, unconditional kind— is agapao.

My daughter, Olivia, once said, “Hollywood film directors and producers are the prophets of our generation sending a false message of love.” I might add so do those in advertising. Most of what the media feeds us is created and based in eros. And we buy it, believing this is love.

No wonder so many relationships are built on toothpicks.

Erros says, “You look sexy, you make me feel good, you make me happy, you make me look good, you make my life easier.” Notice a trend here? It’s all about how others make us feel.

What does agapao look like?

In a word, sacrifice. It isn’t about us.  And the troublesome thing about agapao is sometimes it isn’t convenient, appreciated, and at times it even hurts our hearts. And yet, it remains. Agapao doesn’t depend on emotion, as does eros. Eros evaporates with the changing wind. Agapao cherishes, honors, accepts, is devoted and focused on others. It remains through the tough seasons of life.

This month is dedicated to love, so why don’t we give the gift of agapao—the gift of true love. And, when eros comes knocking at our door with candy and flowers—think. It isn’t our good it wants and we shouldn’t accept anything less than agapao for ourselves!