By AYANNA CLARKE
So, for the past few weeks we have been discussing “alike but not the same”. We’ve been sharing how we see ourselves differently, even though our circumstances mirror what we’ve seen, or been in the past.
This week, we want to segue just a little bit. I want to talk about love. There are seven types of love according to the Greeks:
Eros – sexual or passionate love, and is the type most akin to our modern romantic love.
Philia – friendship, is shared goodwill. Friendships founded on goodness are associated not only with mutual benefit but also with companionship, dependability and trust.
Storge (‘store-jae’) – familial love, is a kind of philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children.
Agape – universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. Unlike storge, it does not depend on filiation or familiarity. Synonymous to Christian charity, agape is defined as unselfish concern for the welfare of others.
Ludus – playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, and seducing.
Pragma – practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. Sexual attraction takes a back seat in favour of personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals, and making it work.
Philautia – self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy. Unhealthy self-love is akin to hubris, or an inflated sense of one’s status, abilities, or accomplishments.
This is a day to celebrate all kinds of love – the love between parents and children, friends, and family members, and the like. But I want to zero in on the love between soulmates, significant others, man and woman. You know, the “In Love” kind of love.
Suffice it to say, I’m a cynic. All my life I have curtly dismissed Valentine’s Day as a holiday contrived by merchants to jump-start sales for the year. My theory was: Christmas is just past, there’s hardly any shopping in January so it just makes sense to create some spending initiative in February. I put this together at the tender age of 12, believe it or not. And that feeling has lasted until the present.
However, I have had an epiphany, and now believe true love, that rare, passionate romantic love, ought to be celebrated.
Why the sudden change, you may ask?
I met a woman who had been married for 49 years. She testified to the ups and the downs, but the amazing desire to stick it out steadfastly – with 1st Corinthians’ patience, kindness, truth, and of course. In her words: “There has to be passion.” So, I realised I may have been wrong about several things.
I was hit with the knowledge that even though I had been so skeptical about Valentine’s, deep down I am probably a true romantic.
There can be a love experience between mates that denotes not only family and Christian service, but also things like passion, longing and breathtaking fulfillment.
And so, I’ve had a change of heart (pardon the turn of phrase).
There is a love worth being coveted, transcending tolerance or common practices; a love that moves beyond reluctant acceptance of who you have in your life, and that makes you excited to see one another, touch one another, be with one another, even after 49 years.
I know now there’s nothing wrong with being completely taken by someone; thinking about them during the day and waiting impatiently until you see them. There is nothing alike or the same about this kind of love – you either have it or you don’t.
Here’s to those of us who’ve found that, and those of us who still search for it. Happy Valentine and God bless you this week!