It is Valentine’s Day. Whooo. I mean, I don’t hate VD as much as some people, but I don’t have any sort of strong, positive relationship with it. Perhaps because I’ve never really had a strong, positive romantic relationship. But, anyhow. This is a day of love. Or something. I’ve been thinking about love a lot recently and have had some interesting conversations with friends about love, marriage, life, sex, etc. All of which is coming together here.
Now, I may not be the most experienced or knowledgeable person to chat about the subject (my current status as a menace to society and lack of interest in sex sort of place me as an outlier), but perhaps that lack of experience or different perspective will lend something new and insightful to whatever it is I’m going to say. We’ll find out I suppose.
I believe in love. I think love is a powerful force for good in the world. You could even say that I believe that all you need is love (and maybe pizza). I once created a scripture chain to test the veracity of “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” with the list of things that never end, since I remembered the verse about all else failing but charity. It worked, I was able to link with one verse or another (or two or three for some of the words) each thing that never ends back to love. I doctrine-checked the song and it checks out. So, no need to fret, it’s not false doctrine.
Yet, I’m not really sure what love is. I feel pretty confident that there are many types of love, but what those distinctions are and what the significance of them is, I’m not quite sure. I could ask you what love is, because I want to know and maybe I even want you to show me, but that’s probably not productive at the moment (just talk to me later). It seems to me that there are 4 sub-groups of love, but that’s just off the top of my head and maybe there’s actual science or something that talks about this, I don’t know, so I’m just rolling with it.
There’s a sort of love that you have for people that you’re friends with. It seems to maybe be less deep than familial love, or at least has a tendency to more frequently be less deep. There also seems to be spill-over from this Friend-Love into the Mushy-Gushy-Romantic Love in some instances. I don’t think that I have this for every single person that I would consider a friend. But that could be somewhat definitional. I would say that friendship can develop into this, but that it is above or beyond friendship.
Family Love (Familial)
From my experience (which not everyone will share), there seems to be a different bond between family members than strangers or friends. Sometimes the strength of Friend-Love begins to look a lot like Family Love, but I think Friend-Love has more selfish roots than Family Love. I feel connections to and for my family members that I would not feel if they were just random people that I was not related to. Some of this is likely socially constructed, because I feel obligated in some sense to love and care for them, but it feels somewhat beyond that. I mean, I’ve recently been able to interact with family members that I haven’t seen or talked to for years and it felt great to reconnect. Usually that sort of conversation is awkward and awful for me, but something about the family bond made it ok. Family Love seems more unconditional. Like, I tolerate things from my family members that I choose to be around that I may not tolerate if they came from someone else. I’m more willing to forgive faults and brush things off. Some of that could be that I’m pretty close with my extended family and have had lots of interactions with them (for the most part), so weirdness is just understood. I’ve seen people at their best and worst and am willing to forgive the moments of bad because I know how good they can be.
Mushy-Gushy Love (Romantic)
I don’t really know what this is. Like, it seems frequently linked with some sort of physical sparking or something, but physical attraction and physical ways of showing affection have never really been big for me. And not in a ‘holier-than-thou’ I look on the heart, not appearances sort of way, just a ‘I don’t feel anything from physical appearance’ (besides sometimes cringing when people touch me, but I’m trying to get better about that) sort of way. Yet, I’ve felt some sort of connection with people (who I’m frequently friends with) that seems to go beyond the Friend-Love. There’s something deeper and more intimate, perhaps. I’m not quite sure. But it feels different. And I want to feel more of it, I want to share that feeling with someone. I want to get married and have kids. I want to have someone around to share life with and I want to be the person that someone else has around to share life with. This sort of love feels more lasting or constant than Friend-Love. Like something that you would have most of the time (I hesitate to say all the time because only Sith deal in absolutes and I like my space, so I don’t know if I could ever love someone enough that I would never want them to let me be alone. Just doesn’t seem likely).
Jesus Love (Charity)
This is my jam. I think we all need more of this. Feeling this is what keeps my fire of belief burning. I know that God lives and is LOVE and loves me. Don’t know much else, but that’s enough for now. I can definitely be better about showing this kind of love. I try to be loving and kind and understanding, but some people make it really difficult (and they probably need it the most, I know). I think that this can spill over into the Friend-Love, at least in how it is observed, but at the root, Charity needs to be selfless. You don’t try to charitably help someone because of the blessings you’ll get or because you hope they’ll be cool and become your friend (well, maybe you do, but you shouldn’t at it’s not true charity then). This is a pure love. The Pure Love of Christ and we are meant to be the messengers of that love.
Yeah. Seems weird that love can be all of those things. And that we use a lot of somewhat westernized ideas of romantic love to color how we view the love of God and other types of love. Love may be harsher than we think. True love (always has a kiss that turns frogs into princesses or brings you out of a deep sleep or back from the dead) can hurt. But does so in a way that helps you be better. It may be painful, but it’s fundamentally good.
Still a lot that I don’t know. Maybe you all just need to help find me somebody to love…or something.