Thursday, November 19, 2009

What in the World is Love, Anyway?

“What is love, anyway… does anybody love anybody anyway.”

—Howard Jones, What is Love (1984).

Set a task: discuss love. No instruments of help, no reference material whatsoever. Can the average man describe love, 1 Corinthians 13 style, and get it almost just about right? Love, for starters, is a broad and abstract concept enshrined at its most fundamental as the selfless act. That’s a bold front. Can that hugely broad thing of love be caged by that simple three-worded concept?

If we think of Paul’s charge to the Corinthians as in having them taste, touch and smell love through the rich imagery of word pictures he uses, we too can taste, touch and smell love. It’s not some wishy-washy thing we go all gooey over. It’s a tangible and raw definable act resplendent in the blessing of another, to the exception of ourselves.

Yet, would this love acceptably meet us, ourselves, blessing occasionally the vendor? Most certainly, and perhaps this is the point; that the person most apt at loving (recalling it’s selflessly delivered) is the person who has bestowed upon themselves, love.

What is love if not an act above and beyond all acts? An act reliant on nothing but the pure and holy aversion to selfishness, it could easily be. But, surely it’s more positive than that. Patient it is; enduringly patient. Kind, generous, not boastful. We know from Mr. Peterson that love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love holds its things lightly; not so its rank opposite number, fear. Fear grabs, grasps, holds, squeezes tightly, suffocates. Not love.

Love is tangible.

Love is tickles and laughter.

Love is cooking dinner, doing the dishes, or both!

Love is helping each other out.

Love is playing and spending time together.

Love is hugs and kisses.

Love is foot and back massages.

Love is unexpected gifts.

Love is sitting quietly together.[1]

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

[1] Sarah J Wickham, Love is (Perth, Australia: SJW Especially for you, 2008). This was my Christmas gift, a one-off photo book dedicated to the memory of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

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