Sunday, May 6, 2012

Love defined

Have you ever looked up the definition of love in the dictionary?
The results may prove why our society is so screwed up.
i.e. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
If this is all we have to work with, we should kiss marriage good-bye...literally.

I don't claim to be an expert on the emotion, the noun that makes life worth living...I'm only twenty.  I'm only twenty--God-willing I have much more to learn, but I know more than the dictionary, a book that's been around for much longer than me.  I don't care how many adjectives or adverbs are put before the word affection to make it sound stronger...

profoundly- "penetrating or entering deeply into subjects of thought or knowledge"
tender- "soft or delicate in substance"
passionate- "having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling"

Now, I don't want to underestimate any of these descriptors.  I think they are all pivotal to getting at the core of love.  Someone who is profoundly passionate in a tender way is someone who is using both mind and emotion--two parts of a human person that are essential to figuring this word out.  But in some ways, this definition only renames with a synonym: love is affection, affection is love.  This is not sufficient.  This is divorce.

I know because I've loved.  Not well, might I add.  I love my family, my friends.  But the type that has brought me closest to that of Christ is romantic, only not culturally defined.  See, I don't think romantic comedies or skewed perceptions are the problem; no, we are the problem.  Our wills, our desires, our...very selves.

We are awarded for cherishing love in the emotion it stirs in us, in what we get back from a knowing smile, a gentle touch, responsive eyes.  These are the things that give us endurance and resilience when affection fails, when a lover changes his or her mind, when a heart grows cold.  They are not the things that define love, for if you walk out during a time of forced smiles, an absence of physical presence, or indifferent eyes, you have lost.  Not the person causing you pain.  No, it is you to blame.  If you can walk out then, you never let yourself love at all.  Walking out is not letting go--the former selfish and latter selfless, if it must be done.

This is the hard truth.  It is not a game for fools.  It is not a game, period.  The second you start thinking it is something you can win or lose, the forces working against what is good have gotten the best of you because love cannot be two opposing forces simultaneously.  It is only one--a force of will, a rooted commitment, so it cannot be a broken promise, a denial, a refusal.  It never fails, it does not fade.  But it must be malleable, wills one to change.

If you wait out the ebb and flow, if your commitment doesn't wane for fear of loss, if you are willing to change the worst parts of you, the ones most familiar to how you have defined yourself before, then you might be able to survive in this world.  I don't mean living day by day, I mean experiencing the depths of earth-shaking, life-altering love in the culmination of the day by days of life.

This is why the decision made in regard to who to spend life with is so vital to who one becomes.  Change is inevitable.  Hurt, even more so.  Passion is a must.  Fierce devotion all the more.  You cannot falter in the face of fear, abandon your beloved for the sake of selfishness.

I don't know about you, but I've come to test the timber of my heart.  I've come to see that nothing is for naught.  Sacrifice.  Servanthood.  Dying to self.

You will get tired.  Your love will run dry.  So what then?

Seek the Source.
Keep on loving.

And please, do the world a favor...don't settle for someone who has a profoundly tender, passionate affection for you.  Don't settle for less than love even if it breaks your heart, because a heart can mend.  A soul, dear friend, cannot...

Choose a fighter with a few battle scars, not the Shakespearian notion of the fairest, yet fearful, of affectionate friends.

1 comment:

  1. “Love is not a feeling. Love is an action, an activity ... Genuine love implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom ... love as the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth ... true love is an act of will that often transcends ephemeral feelings of love or cathexis [the concentration of mental energy on one particular person, idea, or object], it is correct to say, 'Love is as love does'.”
    - M. Scott Peck, from The Road Less Travelled