S0, here’s my question for today: What is Love?
Love is a thing everyone hears about on a regular basis. But not everyone feels it, and a lot of us are confused about what we’re feeling and what part of it is love.
I remember as a kid I wondered why I didn’t feel the kind of love I saw in movies or read about in books, why I didn’t feel like they felt. I wondered if I loved my family at all, and what was wrong with me, how could I not know the answer to that?
My love tended to express itself through fear, I would only feel it when I thought about how horrible it would be to lose a member of my family, but that didn’t make me feel any more kind or sensitive to them. It just made me worry more.
Now when I say movies and books, I don’t just mean romantic love, people like to illustrate the ideal family, the ideal siblings, the ideal parent-child relationship. And they usually make it seem like every problem can be solved if people just listen to each other, and compromise a little. But that is easier said than done, as I’ve discovered. These sources don’t tell you about how people can listen to you and not hear a word you’re saying, in their hearts. Or how you compromise and still feel unhappy and unsatisfied. What about when someone just doesn’t want to talk to you period? Or when they have so many issues of their own, they can’t really sympathize with yours. What about when they make excuses to avoid resolving the problem?
Who really has the ideal family? I’m sure my family might look like it on the outside, but we’ve had some bumpy areas over the past few years, I’ve been scared that we wouldn’t make it. And who has the ideal marriage? Or friendship? Or whatever it is we wish we had, but it seems unattainable.
So what is love? And why is it either absent? Or it’s not working like we thought.
Well, I’m nowhere near wise enough to really answer those questions. All I have is the few things I’ve learned. Or perhaps I should say I’m learning them.
That’s the first thing we need to know about our earthly relationships. They are a growing process. Mine have not stayed the same. They didn’t stay the same before I was a Christian, but after I became one, they changed drastically. But the change really was just the growing of the good things and the disappearance of the bad ones (almost, we’re never going to be perfect.) If you have a clue about love now, then you can grow that into something real, and very rare. I’ve been fortunate to live in a circle of people that all know something about love, but I know that is not most people’s situation.
Another thing about love, is that it is hard. Loving people is about treating them the right way, and then doing a little more. And doing what’s right all the time is something none of us can maintain. We’d be lucky to even start out well.
Is love a feeling? Or is it an action?
I think picking just one of those choices is a mistake. Love is both. But at its purest, love is acting upon what you know you feel, even when you don’t feel it. That is, feelings tell us what’s in our heart, sometimes. Some feelings are deeper than others, and when we feel them it does more than make us cry, it creates a resolve in our heart to do, be, or see things differently than before. your feelings (they used to be called passions) may tell you at one time that you deeply love someone, or that they deeply love you. But it will take actions to prove either is correct. You’ll find out how loving you are when you find out how much you are willing to do, sacrifice, and go through, for someone else; and how little of it you did without feeling like doing it. And what someone else is willing to do for you will speak volumes about how genuine their affection is.
Love is not attraction, attraction is simply one of the things that may make love fun, or may snare people into thinking it is love.
Love is not selfish. Love is not greedy. Love is not too proud to admit a wrong doing, or to be the first to make peace. Love is not insecure and needy.
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not stuck up. It does not anger easily. It is not rude. It does not look to benefit only itself. It doesn’t think evil of the beloved.
Love believes the best, hopes for the best, endures till the end, and bears the cost.
Love is not broken or fractured. It is not disengaged. It listens to us closely, holding every word as important. Love keeps its word. It honors what deserves honor. Love is not passive. Love isn’t anxious about things. Love is not restless. Love is pure.
Love is not God, but God is love.
I just paraphrased 1 Corinthians 13, and a song called “Pieces.” (Amanda Cook, Stephany Gretzinger.) None of us can live up to this standard.
And the wonderful thing is, we don’t have to. Love covers us.
That’s all for this post–Natasha.