What is Love?

Feb 10, 2010
Richard Gotthardt

Love.  What a word.  So beautiful, but so cruelly abused, particularly this time of year! Romantic love in songs usually sounds closer to insanity. “I think I’m going out of my head over you” or “I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t think, because of you… baby”. Sounds serious.

Sometimes we talk about love like a dangerous mishap:
“I’m falling in love” or “I’m head over heels” or “You’ve “hit me like a ton of bricks”.  Ouch.

We lose ourselves in love- we’re ga-ga, we’re over the moon, we’re “nuts about them”.  Pat Benatar sang, “Your love is like a tidal wave, spinning over my head.”  Elvis and countless others were powerless in the face of love: “I just can’t help falling in love with you.”  Poor Elvis.  Huey Lewis crooned that the power of love was enough to “make a strong man weep, make a young girl sing.” Robert Palmer told us, “Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.”  And we’re so desperate… “I need ya, babe. I’ve got to have you.  I can’t live without you!” So much drama!

Ah, yes, the anguish, the heart-ache, the desperation of romantic love.  Enough to make you faint with longing, or maybe puke with disgust.  All depends on if you’re “in it” at the moment or not.

And that’s probably what we most need to realize about the nature of romantic love- it’s so fickle.  We can be tossed around emotionally like rag dolls, but eventually those feelings cool off, settle down.  That’s really OK, since those feelings aren’t usually a reliable guide anyway.  They come, they go, and they’re wonderful and awful, often at the same time.  We can enjoy them while they last, knowing that they are temporary, unpredictable.

So what do we make of all this?  Is romantic love truly love, or just an immature version of the real thing?  Is it just a feeling?

Well, first, it’s very real, and it’s very powerful.  People do all kinds of goofy things when they’re in love.  Some are good, some are really dumb.  Yes, the feelings are very real.  But they aren’t the whole picture of love.  God’s love (the ultimate yardstick) is full of emotion.  Just read the gospels, see the heart of Jesus as He weeps, hugs, speaks with deep emotion.

But the love of God is far more than mere sentimental mush.  God’s love is fierce, deep, and strong.  He is not swept away in rashness; rather, He is compelled to act and move toward us in the ways of love… all the time.  God’s love is full of emotion, of course, but it is much deeper, richer, fuller.
So, this Valentine’s Day, if you’re in love… enjoy.  And remember, even if you’re not… there is a Love for you that will never, ever, let go.

Richard’s Ramblings

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