Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thoughts about love

Well it is Valentines Day.  Its a day when we cannot help but think about love, because we almost have no choice.  TV ads push the day, and prompt us to "show our love" through everything from diamonds, to chocolate (ok that might make some sense) to life insurance policies.

But I sometimes wonder if we even know what love is all about?  Frankly it can all be pretty confusing.  And then there are those for whom love has seemed very elusive.  Women for whom Valentines day has been a day when men who have dominated and minimized them give, mostly in a quid pro quo, "and now that I have been nice to you, this is what I expect from you," kind of way.  Women, and men, who have no one on this day whom they can call "My Valentine."  Nothing like being in a sea of overdone sentimentality to feel your aloneness. 

Love is a tricky thing. Even those of us who have people in our lives who love us, and whom we love, know that this is true.  As I have mentioned before in this blog, the Greeks couldn't wrap the concept of love up in just one word.  They needed four.  Storge, natural affection that comes when we are connected in, lets say, a family.  Phileo, the state of really connecting with another due to common values and beliefs.  Eros, the love of Valentines day, erotic love.  And agape, the kind of love demonstrated and lavishly given by God.  

The thing we have to remember that all of these are love.  The love we have for sons and daughters.  The love we have for people in our church.  That romantic love we have for those unique and special people in our lives that sends us out to buy chocolate.  And of course that value giving love modeled by God.  All of them.  It is this full range of love that brings meaning into our lives.  We need them all.  Valentines day focuses on the one that is the most transient, and probably shortest lived of all.  This is "the feeling we feel when we feel like we are going to get a a feeling we never felt before."  Perhaps is it mostly hormones.  But when this part of love can be combined with friendship, and a real commitment to give to the other (not just take), and with that kind of natural affection that comes when people have been connected a long time.  Well, then love takes on a whole new shape.

I hope, that I can be, in the lives of the people I love, a person who is present with  the full width and depth of love.  That my model for love can be that of the Father in the story of the prodigal son.  That when I see a friend coming, a child coming, a love coming down the road to greet me.  No matter where they have been, no matter what they have done, that I can run and greet them and say, "Ah, this is one I love!  One I value and treasure.  You are amazing and wonderful!  Thank you for being in my life.  Here, have some chocolate!"

Thank you God for loving me that way
Thank you to all of you who are in my life
Happy Valentines Day

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