I have been thinking a lot about love lately. Maybe it is the season. Or maybe it is just a deeper wrestling in my soul, discussions with God. I love to love. I love to care and to want to give to someone. I love being in relationship whether it is a romantic one or not.
Having crushes are fun and exciting, but also a little torturous. And types of love like Agape (Love: in essence Divine) can be developed for that crush person on a low level. Most often though, as I look around at people crushin', it seems like people are only using the love Eros (the desire to possess) in their desire to know that other person. Agape is meant to be developed for all people, not as an exclusive. And I think it is especially beautiful within a romantic relationship. It shows the genuine Divine love of one person to another, the deep investment. When I have a crush on someone I can honestly say it has little to do with Eros and much more to do with Agape, at least now as an almost 23 year old. Perhaps it is my idealistic nature, and my desire to see the good in everyone, but when I have a crush it is so much more about seeing the unique inner beauty of a person and praising God in his creation than just lusting after them. The latter feels so tiring and surfacy.
I have had romantic relationships where it was more about the Eros, some more about the friendly/family love of Familial, and some more about the Agape love. I can look back at each past relationship and see how the two loves of each person commingled and, on the flip side, how they did not play in congruence with each other. Obviously, because I am single, none of the matchings of loves were right. There were relationships where there was a desire to seek to Agape love each other, but we fell short. Or, it was unbalanced and never could reach the point of being evenly yoked in our love.
I love to love. I love to agape. I can walk down the street as a single lady and see a couple and tear up a little at the sight of of them obviously enamoured with each other. I feel like you can tell when a couple's love goes beyond lust and reaches a higer point of being, beyond the silly attachment and neediness of love, beyond the desire to take from the other person. I love seeing the rare loving relationships that are truely sacraficially. Both people deeply seeking to place the other above themselves. Both people seeking to see God on the other. A companionship in spirituality and being. An acceptance of each other, a desire to learn about and from the other, and a respect and encouragement of each other to grow, expand, change and evolve.
I know what I want in a relationship. I want agape love. Beyond my own fulfillment from another person, I want to be filled up by God. I want to be encouraged to seek to worship God more deeply through the unique life of another.
I have been in love twice, and once on my way to loving but it was too short to actually fruition, and maybe a few times in the Eros mode with super short relationships. I don't like dating because I don't like wasting my heart. Well, I don't feel like I have ever wasted my heart. But a heart gets weak after consistently trying to pursue Agape love and then all of a sudden, the love must end because the relationship isn't balanced. It is tiring. Therefor, I am really happy on my own, storing my love for a romantic relationship away for a later day. But I really look forward to the day when I can be with that someone who wants to pursue Agape love as much as me. I want to be with a companion. I don't need to fluff. I want passion that is developed through a deep seeking to see God in each other, not passion developed from lust. I just want a companion to see life through with me. I want to be intentional in my love.
I don't know if I particularly believe in a romantic love. I think that relying on the way mass society defines love, it just a manifestation of Eros and psychological trickery. I would definitely call myself a romantic, and I think there are things that can be thought of as "romantic" but I just can't say I believe in a "romantic" love specifically. Romance and romantic I think can have some varying definitions here. But I do believe in Agape love and it's power to fulfill and enliven all types of relationships, be they "romantic" relationships or just friendship. I love to love. And I look forward to a day when I can dedicate myself to always seeking to love another, and they to me. But until then, I will not seek it out. I am not flirtatious, and I don't want to trick someone into desiring to love me. I am not manipulative. I am shy, but I am contented and patient.
If I am to never ever date again, then so be it God. I think I remember saying this same thing to you God a year ago. And I did briefly date once in the past year. I think it was good it happened and that it ended. I see your work in all of it God. And i rely on your guidance. I risked it, and it just wasn't meant to be. And I am perfectly ok with that. Thank you for your mysterious peace God. If I am meant to never date again God, so be it. I love to love. You know the desires of my heart, and you know that this is my greatest joy. I want to love all people. I really do. And if you would like me to distribute that love to all people evenly and never focus intensely on one other person then that is ok. Just guide me and continue to give me the peace, contentment and happiness that I feel now. I have been single for over 3 years now, minus a 3 month blip from Thanksgiving to February. Being someone who loves to love, that feels like a long time. But I still really feel contented and happy. I can ONLY contribute that to God, because I don't udnerstand it myself. I think since my last break up, I have felt lucky and blessed for the first time in my life. I know God is carrying me and leading me on his path. It is so mysterious and beautiful. He loves me, and so I love.
Wise Words from My Dad:
Our readings in church these past couple of weeks have focused on the topic of love. English is a language which doesn't have a very precise terminology of love. In Greek, love can be filial (phil-eo), familial (stor-gay), a desire to possess (eros), and in essence Divine (aga-pay), among others.
Agape love, first of all, doesn't arise from earthly causes and conditions, like the other kinds of love. When someone goes shopping and sees an article of clothing she likes, she might say "I love that dress." That's the desire to possess something arising from an encounter with the desired object, or eros. Or, due to circumstances of birth or friendship, storge or phileo is usually the result. We love our families and our friends. That love arises from causes and conditions which can change.
Agape love is part of who God is, or as 1 John 4:7-8 puts it,
Beloved, let us agape one another, because agape is of God; everyone who agapes is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without agape does not know God, for God is agape. God, being by nature causless, so His love, His agape does not arise from causes and conditions in this world.
Agape love is volitional, it's an act of will. Agape extends to everyone irrespective of their goodness or badness, now matter how high or low they are in the sight of the world.
So, if you meditate and reflect on agape, and practice it, you and everyone you encounter will be blessed. Going further, if you consider that this world is God's Kingdom (as Jesus repeatedly taught) you'll be blessed by living in it, and your neighbors will be blessed through your change of view, as well. If you consider your body to be God's temple -like the Holy Temple in Jerusalem- (as St Paul teaches us) and your spiritual heart as its Holy of Holies, your inner life will be transformed. If you perceive, through the eye of your agape love, the light of Christ which shines through every person (whether they know it or not), every day will become an encounter with Him. If when you sit down to eat you reflect that this food and drink that you have set before you is God's special gift, your eating will be blessed.
As Christians we should consider everything in this life as an opportunity to experience and to give God's agape love.
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. - Ephesians 1