Monday, August 22, 2011

More Than Yourself

This one didn't really "write itself."  Send me some feedback on it.  LL

We love a lot of things. We love our families, our friends, and our ideals.  Our capacity to love is one of the key ingredients in our humanity.   The Bible says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

My wife and I were having a conversation once about a person who has a drug and alcohol problem.  We were talking about all that it has cost that person’s young son.  For the sake of this blog let’s call him or her “Chris”.  One of us said, I can’t remember which one it was, “Chris loves drugs and alcohol more than he loves his son.”  Then I said, “No, Chris loves HIMSELF more than he loves his son.  He’s choosing what makes Chris happy over what would make the son happy.  That started me thinking, just how many people do I love more than I love myself.  I hadn’t looked at love quite this way before and I was very surprised that when it got down to it, there really weren’t that many people that I loved more than myself.

I had an experience when I was young where someone very important to me chose himself or herself over me, and I have never gotten over that.  I hold on to that and it’s a part of the fabric of who I am. Perhaps that’s why I believe that we only love very few more than we love ourselves. Don’t get me wrong; we love a great many people in our life.  We love our friends.  We love our relatives, well some of them.  We love our pets.  Our Hummers that have never been off a paved road.  Shit, I love my 8 iron, I’d fight someone over that club!  And I like apples, do you?  I love being a Democrat, how ya like them apples?  Sorry, score one for the blue team.  Where was I?   Oh yeah, we love ourselves.  We spend our time and money doing the things that bring us joy.  Our appearance, our lifestyle, our quiet time alone.  Our material possessions.  We are our own first priority.  

The Ancient Greeks had 3 different words for love.  For the sake of this blog I’ll try to simplify them as best my tiny brain can.  The first type of love is Eros, which is erotic love, infatuation.  It could be a man and a woman or a persons love of something material such as fine diamonds.  The second type of love is Philos, which is based on friendship between two people.  Does that look familiar?  You can see that word today in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.  The third type of love is Agape, and many of you have probably heard that word or know it from a church sermon.  Agape is unconditional love.  God’s love for us is agape, and a great many of us have agape for God.

Perhaps in today’s modern world we need more than one word for love.  I can think of many of my loves that would fall into the Greek’s 3 types of love.  The type of love that I’m talking about here would most likely be agape.  Unwavering and unconditional love for another.

So now that we’ve talked about all we love and all the ways we love I’d like to get back to my statement or maybe state it in the form of a question.  I want to know, do you think I am wrong in that we only truly love a small number of people more than we love ourselves?  Remember from the last blog, the answer could be “I don’t know” lol.  In the case of “Chris”, he has no-one in his life that he loves more than himself.  He as forsaken all his family and friends for what brings him pleasure.  He cares only about his own happiness. Maybe my personal experience leans me to one side of that question.  I can think of the people I love more than I love myself.  I won’t state that number here but when it really gets down to it, and I won’t use a cliché such as “I’d die for” because that’s too cliché, it’s a small number.  If you agree with me is your number small or large?  Chris’ number is zero.  I can’t imagine that anyone of us has a double-digit number, I didn’t get that high myself.  If you have a number like that I wholeheartedly envy you.

As I’m getting older my number is also shrinking.  Spending time with the ones you love is so important.  I know I stressed that in the media blog but it’s so true.  Most of you are my classmates or about my age.  We’ve lost some grandparents.  We’ve lost some parents.  Some of us have experienced the worst pain, the loss of a child.  It gets painful, really painful.  Spend time with those special people that make up your number.  Tell them how much you love them, tell them about Agape.

As always I hope I made you think a little and I hope that I didn’t offend you.  I’m just a little blue guy in a big red world.  I have nothing but Philos for each of you.  I’ll see you when I see you ~LL

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