Monday, May 22, 2006

I'm Back

I know. I haven't posted anything recently. This is because a lot has happened, and I was very busy and distracted. But now that I've had a few moments rest, it's a good time to say that I haven't fallen off the Earth. And I also think it's about time to make a more personal blog entry.

Over the course of the last couple of months, I broke up with my girlfriend, was the best man at a wedding, and found out that my best friend was in a car accident. All of these things, and others, have been really teaching me a lot about life, and its not an easy process. I feel highly challenged in my personal growth as a person and as a Christian.

One of the things I'm really trying to figure out is a concept that everyone else seems to understand fairly well, but I continually struggle with. And that is the concept of love. Well, the concept isn't so difficult, but the definition can be. What I mean is, how do you know that you love someone? I'm referring to anyone, be it your parents, your friends, your spouse, your relatives. What makes you sure that you love them? And for that matter, can you ever be sure? Is believing you love somebody enough to make it true?

I believe that I do love my parents, for example, but I don't say that to them very much (I'm trying to do it more). I believe that I love my friends, but I never say it. And why? I don't even know why. The only explanations that I have seem to be that either I am afraid, uncertain or unqualified to make such a statement. The reading in church today (which prompted this post) was the one in which Jesus says "No one has greater love than to lay down his own life for his friends" (John 15:13), and although that seems like a good starting point, it isn't easily applicable in everyday life.

I often remind myself of that scene in the movie Ghost where Demi Moore's character tells Patrick Swayze's character that she loves him. He can't say it back since he knows that people everywhere say it and don't mean it all the time. Even though it's very obvious from the rest of the movie that he really does love her, it seems like he is stuck on the same concept as me, which prevents him from telling her that he loves her. This makes me think its more a psychological issue than an intellectual one both in the movie and in my life.

My reflection today on the verse led me toward the thought that if the greatest love is when you lay down your life for a friend, then this would imply that there are different degrees of love for another person. If what Jesus is talking about is the greatest love, then maybe there is such a thing as great love, or even good love, or just simply love, and its all just different kinds or different degrees, or different amounts. So I have a few friends where maybe I would hesitate to actually take a bullet for them. But I'm thinking now, as I write this, that it does not therefore mean that I don't love them. And this seems to be what I'm trying to internalise and believe, but I haven't been able to fully do that yet.

Anyway, I would "LOVE" to hear what other people's concepts of knowledge of love are in the above context. And please don't start talking about the three kinds of love using Latin terminology okay? I'm talking about real love for another person with with whom you have a relationship, love in its most general and basic kernel, whatever that means.