Love. I have come to know that there is no other word that is spoken of as much or as greatly. I have come to see that there is no other word that evokes more opinions than this term (other than religion or sexuality at this cultural moment in time). It has almost lost its identity because it is identified by us as so many things. It must have some meaning. Some definition that we can at least use to at least limit the possible contenders competing for its attention and accolades. I hope to elucidate something to that effect. Though love may indeed be infinite — it does have a limit of sorts. It must have some sort of nature.
A rock star feels “love” by the fans that adore his hits. A model may feel the love from the envious gaze of they who look upon her 1% form as she graces upon the runway of the world. Designer fashion also adds to the visual spice for sure. The poet feels love for his creations of words, wit, and rhythmical dialogue. I could go on and on about lovers, leaders, soldiers, and the many titles people use to describe themselves, and the world that they add to –- or take away from.
Love, though having many good connotations, and humanly quips ascribed to it – also has the unfortunate reality of being a four-letter word to some. How many times has someone “loved” you and hurt you deeply, and sometimes even desperately? How many times have people loved one another, and bound themselves to a ring of fire; only hate each other thereafter? Warm blood can quickly turn cold among some of these unions….. literally.
How does a gift of God (one could claim) become a curse to us? This thing we strive for with our short 80 years or so on this planet seems to pain us, and be a bane to our existence –- and rightly so. Fair enough. Evil after evil is caused by a lack of “love” and, oddly enough, is done in the name of it! Yes, this is a very obvious observation, but very often the obvious things in front of us deserve a closer look than they often get.
I feel some of the confusion regarding what love is has to do with not knowing what it is NOT. True love isn’t always fun. It isn’t always easy. The greatest love of all, according to Christ – involves something incredibly hard, and for damn sure not pleasant. Laying down your life. He certainly had the right to say that in my book, for he himself did that.
In some sense, it is easier to literally die for someone than to do something else Christ spoke about (at least conceptually), that being: if you love someone, sometimes you have to die to yourself. I’m not saying that you have to give up everything you are, and everything that you are fond of. I am saying if you truly want them, and you want the absolute best for them, divinely and humanly speaking, a part of you must die.
That part is your self. The part of you that wants the best and the juiciest for the big number one. Of course, you can’t completely let it go to reckless abandon; but you have to abandon it as the sole focus of your happiness. You can only succeed in love for your friends, lover, parents, or anyone else… if you learn they must in part at least, come before YOU.
Christ on the cross showed this to maximal effect. Here was God. Divine, yet in torn flesh and blood, with his nerves smoldering in pain. Searing with the marks of a flagellum from a few hours before, on wood with splinters spearing into his open back. Here was the King of the Kingdom of the heart in a literal type of hell, with all his nerves at the fray on insufferable fire. He surely had a reason to dive into the riches and depths of his powers to vitriolically destroy his torturers, and yet he DID NOT — for He is Love. I can’t say that I would know what I would do in that state with that power. All I can humbly admit is I hope that I would be like him.
He instead said in his life that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” A better way of saying it in respect to the Greek is: they who can use violence and power, and yet hold back by virtue shall inherit the earth. He said on the Cross something to the effect of “Father! Hold this not against them, for they are greatly ignorant of the evil they are do!”. Talk about restraint!
If ever there was a man who died to himself; if ever there was a God that died to himself, divesting and willingly denying the power he had to fill the hunger that the self always has… it was Jesus. If you want to know the nature of love – this is it. Infernal sacrifice bordering hell and heaven, emotionally, spiritually, and any other form that can be imagined or conjectured; and yet, so tender that it wouldn’t hurt a little lamb (and how many of us are sheep, in all honesty?)
True love is tender and strangely… fierce. Visceral, and not viscous (thank you Richard Murray). It isn’t always agreeable, yet it certainly can be nice. Especially when it is ripe and tended to properly. True love is diametrically opposed to anything that threatens goodness, and defined by whatever tends to the grand goal, of making the world, others, and yourself better. You must start within though. I have learned that the hard way.
Love was never supposed to be a four letter word of curses. It was always a word of well… love. God is Love. Though the people on the planet he made with care twist and contort the living hell out of the word. It was written in spirit and in bone by the very one who is Love. He transcends Love. He is beyond and above Good, Evil, and every malevolent, and benevolent force and notion of man, and yet he is LOVE. God is Love. I cannot say that Love is God. Whatever is true love though… is of God, and it is certainly Godly at that.
He is Love personified. We can love as he did, does, and always shall. First though… we must let him love us. Only then can we identify and know Love, and the one who is Love — that the apostle Paul described in nature like this: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:38-39.
Thank you for reading.