LOVE IN A WORD
Our theme for September is Loving Outloud and it’s got me thinking a lot about the word Love. In the English language we say we love our partner, our parents, our children, and our pets. We also say we love the ocean, the mountains, the desert, and the dessert. We love cake and ice cream, we love our cars and our homes, and some of us really love our stuff (you fill in the blank). We use the word love so loosely that it can almost lose its meaning.
The Greeks have eight words for the various types of experiences of love:
• There is the love of family, or storge, that is the natural love family members have for one another
• There is philia, the type of love friends have for one another
• Pragma is the love grown out of obligation, duty, or logic
• Erotic love is eros, the love expressed by physical desire.
• As it sounds, mania is obsessive love, the love that sparks jealousy and possessiveness
• Borrowed from Latin, ludus is playful love, often associated with courtship and new relationships
• Love of self is philautia that expresses how we feel about ourselves and our bodies
• Finally, there is unconditional, sacrificial love known as agape’. This is the love that one can have for God, humanity, or life itself.
The famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes this agape’ type of love:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Ernest Holmes defines Love as “the self-givingness of the Spirit through the desire of Life to express Itself in terms of creation. Emerson tells us that Love is a synonym for God. . . . Love is free from condemnation, even as it is free from fear. Love is a cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible.” The Science of Mind pg. 608
This is the love we strive for, the love that fills our hearts and helps us to find forgiveness that transcends human level conditions. In love, there is no fear, no doubt, no separation, only the infinite Love of Spirit that unites us with all of Life.
–Sharon Whealy, RScP