Thursday, May 6, 2010

On Love, Defined

It's disconcerting to think about.

I don't like it.

Stop dragging me outside my comfort zone.

I'm right.

Aren't I?



You defined love so narrowly, as action.  I agreed, but disagreed, expanding that action can take many different forms.  It was terrifying to me how you kept coming back to the idea that sometimes you have to choose to love one person over another.  I felt like a little kid, wanting to plug my ears and scream in order to not listen.

It's not true.  You don't ever have to stop loving one person in order to protect another.  Love doesn't have to be displayed in such physical forms as spending time, hugs, conversation.  Sometimes it can't.  Love is action through prayer and encouragement and support and good thoughts and prayer and prayer and prayer and smiles.

Isn't it?

And then I started thinking, as I walked down the dark sidewalk: maybe that's my excuse.  Maybe that's what I define love as because that is easy to do.  Maybe because I am so terrified to act, to put myself out there and bare my soul, because rejection stings.

From my journal last night:
It scares me when something I hold in my heart so strongly as truth is questioned by others.  Wait, though, why is your perception of what love is so limited?  But wait, is mine too broad?

Here's the conflict: where do I draw the line?  Here's the problem: there are no absolute answers.  Only this: God is good.

But it scaress me to think that holding you in my heart and my head, lifting you up to God throughout my day, having all the good thoughs in the world for you, giving smiles and silent encouragement is not love.

Then what is it?  Is this whole loving business just nonsense?  Because that's no good.  This is what I base my life around.

But it scares me that maybe this is just what I convince muyself loving is, saying I love [fill in person here] when really it's just a clever substitute for taking action.

Oh, don't say that because you know it's really true, and that is heartbreaking.  You are so good at not taking action, at just watching and thinking good thoughts, because that's the easiest way to protect your heart.


Maybe this would be ok if I didn't suffer so much with loving people closest to me.  But when I've been hurt or feel my views or lifestyle being questioned or judged, I don't want to love any more.

It's easy for me to love the quiet ginger who looks like he should live inside my head.  It's easy for me to love the hobbit-obsessed, Jesus-loving, theologically-minded Psychology major.  It's easy for me to love the sensitive and passionate hipster English major wth bright blue eyes.  It's easy for me to love the old roommate of a friend, walking across the loop in a grey cardigan and metallic shoes.

But it's hard for me to love the betrayer.  It's hard to love the legalistic conservative.  It's hard to love the judgmental brother.  It's hard to love the hardass feminist.  It's hard to love the pretentious authority figure.

I judge you for always and only doing the things that make you happy, but I only love the people who make me feel good inside, too.
I don't know what love looks like.  At the Passionate Faith chapel this morning, the speaker defined salvation as true love, and a pure love that only God can provide for us.  That love has three main characteristics: fidelity, transcendence, and communion.  More simply, being there for someone, moving someone, and knowing someone.

Yeah, I don't know.  We can't love people perfectly, because we're not perfect.  If we could love perfetly, salvation would be found within each other, and our need for God would be compromised.

Love is scary, though.  Maybe... maybe.  I'm having too many thoughts right now.

I just, I don't know.  I don't know how to love.  When my heart is full to bursting, but there is no oppotunity to spill this caring... I don't know.

1 comment:

  1. "But it's hard for me to love the betrayer. It's hard to love the legalistic conservative. It's hard to love the judgmental brother. It's hard to love the hardass feminist. It's hard to love the pretentious authority figure."
    We're just a bundle of terribly wounded hurting people attempting and failing to love others in the same way you are.

    I think I know what you mean Anna. My heart feels like this often. Four gospels has forced me to read the Bible and, damn, Jesus has very high expectations for what it means to love God and love people. But I think the act of loving thy neighbor in thought, word and deed is the mountain Christ says he will move when we ask.

    Still hard. Still confusing. You're just not alone in these thoughts.

    (I always read your blog, just in case you ever wonder if someone reads it. I read it and thoroughly enjoy it.)