LOVE is a word that is so readily thrown around.
“I love pasta, I love that show, I love that thing, I love that person, I love my spouse, etc.”
It often seems when we use the word love we are referring to a feeling, of how something makes us feel.
But shouldn’t love be more than that?
With all the differing ways we use this word, I wonder, have we ever stopped to ponder what love is?
Love looks like a whole host of different acts and emotions, but regardless as to what it is, love is the one thing we are all interested in receiving; which perhaps is the problem we face when referring to love, we are looking to how something makes us feel. In other words, love is about us receiving, rather than us giving.
JRR Tolkien (author of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) after the death of his wife wrote in a letter to his son that “true love is not finding your perfect star, but rather your companion in shipwreck;” meaning life and love are messy; no one is perfect, but true love is demonstrated by getting into the mess of people lives and helping keep them afloat.
Companions in shipwreck musters up the image of people stranded in the middle of the ocean, holding onto the same piece of wreckage, fighting to keep one another afloat.
Both the thought and the image intrigue me, and at the same time challenge me.
To my wife, am I her companion in shipwreck, to my children am I theirs?
What about my friends and family would they say that of me, or would they all see me as a person preoccupied with self-preservation?
Isn’t this the very story of Jesus, where he came to humanity not in the form of a conquering king or God, but rather in the form of a man, so that he could immerse himself into the mess of our lives, in order to become our companion in shipwreck if we so chose.
I wonder if we were all to love like that, what would life look like?
What would family’s look like if we all as parents loved our spouse or our children like that?
What would our friendships look like?
And the bigger question is, what would our community look like?