Monday, January 30, 2006

Talk about Love

There’s a song I love from the ’80s band O+ (pronounced “O Positive”) called, Talk about Love. It has the line: “What is lo-o-o-o-o-ve anyway? Does anybody love anybody anyway?” [Massive edit per Peter's comment: The song I'm quoting is actually Howard Jones' "What is Love?" The two songs exist on the same compilation tape, and I got them mixed up! Apologies to Mr. Jones.]

What is love anyway? Spent some time yesterday talking about it with my Sunday school class. And it’s not that easy to define. It’s like you either know it or you don’t. (When I asked, “What is love,” one kid said, “oh, God,” and I thought he was answering. But he was just exclaiming at the difficulty of defining it.)

We easily came up with external expressions of love, like compassion or putting someone else first or patience. But what is the nature of the essence behind those behaviors?

Genuine love to me is where you are so engrossed in regard for the other that you actually put aside thinking about yourself. You are 100% present with the other, fully *there* for them. Love is “that joy which finds one’s own in another’s good”—a phrase from Mary Baker Eddy (Mis. 127).

Yet this is still human love. What is divine Love? The one where the answer is, “God”?

I’ve read definitions like “a settled good will” or “a very strong feeling of affection.” Lame. Doesn’t begin to capture divine Love in all its benevolent glory.

For Love to really be God, it’s got to be infinite, omnipotent, supreme. It’s got to fill all creation with its good will, hold all creation in the bonds of affection. It’s got to delight in us as its children, with more tenderness than the most saintly mother and more confidence than the most encouraging father.

When I contemplate this Love, when I absorb all that it’s sending that I can accept, I’m filled and whole. I experience more goodness than I’ve ever imagined, and I know even more is in store for me. I’m well and happy and complete. And, in my best moments, I’m grateful.

And then, golly, doesn’t it become a simple matter to put the other first on a human level. When you’re full yourself, it’s so much easier to love others. Human love flows right from divine Love, the latter fueling the former.

I used to think love was like a pitcher, where I had some and someone else had some, and we’d pour it into each other when we loved each other. But that love is finite and too exclusive. The back-and-forth would deplete our energy and we’d run out, exhaust each other.

Now I think of love as flowing through me like a river, from the infinite fountainhead of Love. As it flows through me and I direct it to those I love, I experience it. It’s one of those things that when you share it, you have it. All you’re doing by sharing is multiplying its effects, because you still have whatever love you had to begin with.

There is no love without Love. Love’s presence is what makes love possible. And this to me is the most startling truth. I love all the time. It’s natural, like breathing. This most natural of things is indeed the presence of the Divine. And I learn again for the first time how God is the best kept secret there is. Love is hiding in plain sight.

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At 11/10/2006 10:45:00 PM, Anonymous Scintilla said...

I think you'll find that the line you mentioned is actually from Howard Jones's "What Is Love?" (off the album Human's Lib), also another fine product of the 80s.


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