When I was a young girl living in the family that I was born into, I thought there was only one kind of true love: romantic. My heart yearned for someone to understand me and love me (in whatever way that meant at my tender age). Of course, I eventually came to see that there were other forms of love.
There are three principal Greek words which can be translated as “love” in English, each with different connotations. The two most common are “eros”, which refers to sexual love, and “philos”, which means friendship or brotherly love. “Agape” has been the least used in Greek and least specific in its meaning.
Agape is the main word used for “love” in the New Testament since, for the early Christians, it held little philosophical or theological baggage. But its concept is no longer limited to just God’s love of humanity; it also is used to describe the love one person has for another. In contrast to the sexual love of eros or the friendship expressed by philos, though, agape is described as selfless kind of love that involves giving without expectation of anything in return. [From a website about agnosticism and atheism.]
So was the foundation for inspiring discussion laid at this week’s Gilbert Spirituality Meetup. As one member said it, “…the conversation was extraordinary.” I know many of us are still processing what we heard.
I was deeply touched by the story of a member who said that she’d been in many romantic relationships that had not worked. When she became a mother, she was taught unconditional love from her daughter. This feeling impacted her tremendously, so much so that she started applying what she’d learn to her adult relationships. She attracted her beloved and has been happily married for 10+ years.
Love is not a feeling but a state of awareness. And, it really is something we choose. In fear, there is no place for love. Love is a force, the glue that holds things together, it is “what works.”
Love and God go hand in hand, and much conversation revolved around God’s unconditional love.
Dogs too love unconditionally. So, I guess it’s no surprise that the word “dog” spelled backwards is “God”. A little bit of Spirit and (perhaps) humor in our discussion of Spirit and love.