Saturday, December 18, 2010

Love That Holds Meaning

Last night, as I snuggled next to my husband, he murmured a sleepy, "I love you" which I returned. He drifted to sleep quickly, but I was lost in thoughts. One particular one, which struck me as exceedingly simple yet complicated. What is love? Does it exist? Is it intrinsic, or do we create it? Is it a feeling? An action? What is it?

This is one of the great undefined mysteries of life. The fact that the perception of "love" can be viewed in so many different ways by humans often clouds the true definition of the word.

It must be many things. The way I feel towards Aaron is not entirely affectionate. Sometimes I'm irritated with him. Some days I'm too rushed to pay attention to my feelings about him, and yet I still pause to say, "I love you, hon". Often I'm filled with deep affection that makes me want to be physically near him constantly.

My brother, who I claim to love more than anyone in the world, inspires different emotions in me. When I think of him, I am filled with unmistakable pride, to be able to say he is my relation, and that I raised him. I am overwhelmed with fierce protective urges, and a frantic desire to see him safe, and happy. I want him to know I'm there for him, that I am his biggest fan, and that he is never alone.

I adore few things more than my black fingerless gloves. I wear them almost daily. Does that mean I love them? Can I love an object? What about an activity? Martial arts brings me clarity, peace, adrenaline, and yoga contributes a vastly critical addition to my day. One can exclaim, "I love yoga!!!" But can they?

What is love? Love can be portrayed through actions, as displayed in 1 John 3:16: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. Love can be a motivator for sacrifice, like in John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, to die for us. Love can be a feeling, as referenced in Jordin Spark's song, 'Love Feels Like a Battlefield', or Vince Gill's 'Feels Like Love'.

Love seems to be instinctual for humans. A child is born, and a mother is inexplicably bonded with her child. Is it love? Or innate behavior? A grown man is brought to his knees by the staggering emotion he feels towards the woman he yearns after in his heart. Love? Or desire? A man and a woman spend a night of passion, needing to be brought together as one. Love? Or lust? A ten-month-old baby kisses her mother on the cheek. Love? Or learned behavior? A man lays down his life for the world-at least, in his opinion, he does. Is that love? Or is it a martyrdom disorder?

It certainly doesn't seem to be long-suffering, in most cases. Divorce is a common occurrence. Mothers eventually lose interest. Many things can distract one from loving. A best friend can turn enemy at a misunderstood comment. A family can be torn apart over money problems. A child can turn away easily from a friend they no longer relate to.

Is this love a thing you can trust? Does it exist? What is it? I'd love to know.


Bessie said...

Though I do not consider myself a Christian any more, one great lesson I took from that paradigm is the idea of love as an action, a way of treating people, not just an emotion. Emotions are indeed fickle. Some of the New Testament I can do without, but I find its teachings on Love remain relevant to my life even though I am not a "believer" in Jesus.