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A Great Love

An interesting tidbit about me: the first poems I ever wrote were about love. Love is really fascinating to me. According to Wikipedia, there are six common words for love. I’m going to go through a couple of these words. The first word, agape, is generally used by Christian theologians to mean the unconditional love of God for humanity. This kind of love can be experienced reading John Donne poems. The second word, eros, is love of the sexual nature. While most romanticists will point toward Lord Byron. The most eros-focused poets I admire are Greek! Isn’t that fascinating? The two poets are Sappho and Ovid. The third word, philia, is a love or affection for friendship between equals. You’ll probably laugh, but of course I think John Keats. Go past his famous poems and linger on his poems of nature and gods.

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But what about biblical love? There’s the famous John 3:16 that starts something like For God so egapesen, loved. God’s love for the world is a rather strange love. A love that sacrifices a son. Eros? That Song of songs book is full of it. Just take a trip to Song of Songs 4:16. The biggest example of friendship also leads to great love like agape such as John 15:12-14.

But is that really what a great love is? Is a great love the 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 passage. In that passage the word is agape as well. Agape, the great love is patient, kind, does not envy...and so forth. However, I can’t shake my experience of a great love out. A great love for me is a lot of the things that 1 Corinthians speaks about. However, something in my gut tells me that a great love is all that and more.

A great love has room to be jealous, to be impatient, to be unkind, to be envious...and so forth. The world we live in is filled with both love and despair. I think that’s the real anthesis to love: despair.

Have you ever loved that way? Loved so much, loved so strongly? Loved until you couldn’t love anymore. Then every moment that you spent loving too much you had equal moments of loss and despair if that person were gone. A love so great that it tips the scale of energies. A love so great that when it’s gone: you become a new person. The old person loved so much and is locked away with that love and despair conundrum forever.

What would the Greek philosophers say about that love? What would be its name?


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