Any man who thinks he can describe love understands nothing about it. from The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
Love really can’t be explained. It has so many facets. Advertisements want us to see love as passion and sex. It sells things from perfume to Viagra. Passion is important. It keeps humanity going but it is a minute part of love. There is so much more.
I talked a little about this in an old blog. The Greeks had a totally different way to look at love and did a much better job of seeing it.
We need to experience the full range of love in our lives. Explore your life and find the different ones that you have experienced or are experiencing. Broaden your thinking beyond what advertising wants us to see.
This is what most of us think of when love is mentioned. We have narrowed love down to sexual attraction. This love can be like a flame that burns down and dies. We have lost so much by doing this. I think we know other kinds of love are out there but we push them to the back.
2. “Philia” or Affectionate Love
This is our love for our friends. If we are blessed to have friends who love us and that we love in return we should rejoice. This love leads to caring about others.
3. “Storge” or Familiar Love
This is love of family. We can actually have this love for long term friends who have become family to us. It is similar to Philia
4. “Ludus” or Playful Love
This is like the early stages of Eros but with something added to the sexual attraction. This can be flirting or playful affection.
5. “Mania” or Obsessive Love
Mania is a dangerous kind of love. This is the abusive partner who bit by bit isolates the loved on from all others. This is obsessive love.
6. “Pragma” or Enduring Love
This is the love of a couple who have spent a lifetime together. Their love has componets of all the positive loves. It cherishes familiar love and Philia. It includes Eros. It is a deep and constant love.
7. “Philautia” or Self Love
The Greeks understood that we have to learn to love ourselves in order to love others. This love is important to ground us as persons.
8. “Agape” or Selfless Love
Most of us see this love as the ultimate love. The love that Christ had for us. It is when we can love the unlovable.
Quite often I sit and wonder what I am going to write about. Most of the time something comes to me and I start with a thought and have no idea where it is going. Usually it works into something that what never what I thought in the beginning.
Today the only thing that came to mind is that in June my husband and I will have been married for 57 years. I can’t say that a single one of them have been bad. We never questioned that we belong together even on the off days. Ups and downs yes but never infidelity or desire to be with someone else. This quote from C.S. Lewis is fitting.
Today I did another mediation. It is always interesting to see what it is about. Sometimes it is someone owing someone else money. Sometimes it is member of a family arguing about something minor. Usually with families the problem is not what they have brought to us but lost in their past history. With cases like this it is usually not possible to resolve anything. There is too much water under the bridge.
Too often we see families divided over long standing hurts and disagreements. Families are not perfect but it makes me so sad to see them totally divided. We have so few people in life who love us unconditionally. What leaps to mind is my dogs. It seems we humans have more trouble understanding each other. We are so ready to let good relationships fall away.
Keeping a family together is hard work just as keeping a marriage together. Feelings get hurt, people behave badly, things go wrong. Sometimes parents have tried their hardest to do the right things and sometimes the parents are damaged themselves and can’t parent well. No matter what happens having a loving family to support you in life is one of life’s greatest blessings.
Unconditional love is not easy but we do have to try. Sometimes is it impossible and we have to move on. When that happens my hope is that a new relationship can be formed using the lessons learned from the past. Being loved and loving is worth the effort.
When my son was engaged he asked my husband ( a gifted carpenter) to make a bed for them. He made a beautiful four poster bed. I wrote the following poem about it.
Its posts are silky
as the sanding is done
each coat of finish
a step of love
as loving as the lives
who will rest and love
in its grasp
the work of finishing
will be done
but the love nurtured in its depths
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we woke up and the world had changed
no more wars
no more pain
no more anger
Wouldn’t it be amazing if everything was different
no more hatred
no more prejudice
no more discrimination
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the world was restored
no more pollution
no more un-breathable air
no more endangered species
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the people were reborn
filled with joy
filled with love
filled with celebration
Wouldn’t it be amazing
© Suzanne Boyd 2018
Today I was listening to Christmas music in the car and it reminded me of the controversy over some Christmas songs this year. The protests over things has certainly reached the point of the ridiculous. Someone always has to put a meaning that reflects their negative attitude on something that has been around forever. As someone said there are more victims that people.
One song under contention is “Baby, its cold outside.” My parents were around during the time that this was written (I think 1944) and there was no ulterior meaning to this song. Some of the phrases used were common vernacular during that era. Now we have to put a spin on it that reflects today’s world and it just doesn’t fit.
The other song is “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.” Once again something is being made of nothing. I have always seen that song as a positive to Rudolph. He wins in the end and his skills become paramount.
When is this craziness going to stop? It is becoming impossible to say anything that will not offend someone. Any common sense has been thrown out the window. I can envision us in a future where there is no music, or books, or speeches, or talking, or ads, or TV, media or anything. It will be a silent and sullen world. Everyone will always be angry with others. Eventually we will kill each other and there will be no one to complain.
It is impossible to please everyone and offend no one. If everyone carries a chip on their shoulder there is no way to fix it.
When will we put away all this anger and contention and turn to kindness and love? That is the only thing that can save us.
Well, this is my second time tow write this blog. For some reason WP lost it even though I saved it.
I wrote on https://heargodinothervoices.blog/2018/12/08/a-little-bit-more/ about Advent season and I would like to share some of my thoughts here.
In this season before Christmas there is something that changes. Whether people are Christian/Jewish or celebrate something else there is a change at this time of year. People seem more kind and caring. They are more willing to make donations and volunteer to help others. There is something about the season that, like snow, floats down over our parts of the world. It is as if a profound sense of generosity is awakened. This time of the year is different and I think Dr. Seuss, in the Grinch, was right. It is “something more.”
May we keep this caring and outpouring of help into the new year.
As I read the blogs in my reader and explore the writings of those who read my blog I am struck by the wideness of differences in our lives. Yet, we are alike. Something written has caused us to connect in some way.
The view of lives in far away places and close to home expands my understanding. I see the simple, everyday moments people experience and I feel a kinship with their thoughts. The writing is a window into other lives. We are more alike than we are different. Most of the joys and sorrows are the same. Most of us encounter love and hate. Most of us have seen grief in some way. Most of us long for a better, more loving world.
Surely this glimpse into another life, another world, will draw us closer together. Understanding blocks hatred. The desire to reach out and draw closer will surely open the path to deeper relationships where hatred has no home. We can give love the chance to grow and encompass those around us.
One of the most important things to accept and understand is that each of us is loved. I am not talking about the love of another person but the love that surrounds us. For me, there is a love that pervades the universe. We learn to accept that each of us is unique and as such never to be again. Our time on earth is a gift. We have to make choices about how we use that gift. We didn’t seek that gift. It was given freely and without expectation of some sort of return.
If we can accept that we are loved then we have love to give away to others. Not just people but also to the earth that we inhabit. There are times when we don’t feel any love directed toward us. We feel alone, alienated, and abandoned. We must learn to pull away from this idea. Regardless of how unimportant or unnoticed we feel we must accept the fact that we matter.
To me this feeling of being left out, ostracized and without meaning is insidious and can trap us in depression. Sometimes it is hard to believe that love surrounds us. You can see it as God, or whatever form you accept but it is there.
When you are in a bad place and can’t see your way remember the love and know that you can reach out and find a way out of the darkness. There is always a way.
Today a dear friend brought us a meal and stayed to eat it with us. It was a wonderful gift. Not just the meal but her presence. Friends are such a blessing. Since we are more or less trapped in the house it is wonderful to see a loving face.
Those of us who have people to turn to when we are deep in a hole can save our lives. I am so blessed to have those people in my life. It is a terrible thing to be alone. I do mean completely alone with no one to turn to.
So often, with mental illness, there is no one who understands. Even the therapists we turn to for help. There are some who have suffered the pain that we feel and understand. It is important to find someone like that. Some therapists, even though they have not experienced it, have enough empathy to join with us in the emotion. A empathetic therapist is a gift. That it is why it is so important to find the right one.
My current isolation is trying but important to me. To be able to help in my husband’s healing lets me give back some of the love he has given me. I know that soon we will find that “new normal” we’ve been working toward.
When I was young I thought that aging was almost a worry free process. I don’t know how I could have thought that! I must have been really naive. Aging brings tremendous challenges but also wonderful gifts. You may be able to see the fulfillment of your dreams for you children and the amazing people they have become. I am not talking about monetary gain or major status but just seeing them as loving and caring adults.
God’s grace has been with me and will continue to be no matter what!
Today’s blessing: my children