Our society writhes in constant longing for the most natural of desire forged within us. It seems that at every bend in the road, every turn of our head, every ad on our screens we are flooded with the need for companionship; telling us how necessary it is for our minds, souls and bodies to be intertwined with others. Our hearts crave to be wanted. Our souls beg for belonging. 

With Valentine’s day around the corner, many search for the companion to satisfy their needy soul. We all want what we want. Maybe chocolate, perhaps jewelry, a nice dinner or bouquet of fresh flowers. Not that any of this is wrong, but chocolate and dinner disappear. Jewelry fades. Flowers die. Even some relationships find themselves broken and betrayed by the what “once was” reality of romance.

I think we’ve gotten so much of love wrong. We’ve placed it into one category instead of several. We’ve taken a tree that would bloom into a forest of fortune and broken his limbs to never flourish. There is so much more than a man and a woman “falling in to love.” 

Love doesn’t have to be conditional, and it takes on many forms. Have you experienced the empathic love of nurturing those around you? Held your child in your arms and given love without pre-requisite? This love transcends the need for value and worth and instead chooses to love without discrimination. {Familial love. Storge}

Perhaps you’ve loved a friend with mutual agreement and felt the ease within your kinship? Let love be love. C.S.Lewis describes this friendship bond as the “least natural”  source of love, and would best be described as the friendship between David and Jonathon. The kind of pure love that a friend might lay down his own life for. The kind of love that we must work at but in return its value is worth far more than its weight in gold. The kind of love that often seems nearly impossible to find today. Do you have a friend you love like this?  Keep them. After all it has been said that “Sweet friendships” have the ability to “refresh the soul.” {PR 27:9} {Brotherly love. Philios}

Romantic love tempts us this month with angel wings, sweet smelling aromas and treats, begging for the human touch and acceptance by just one. But love with only romance is not fulfilling love. It will satisfy the human need for affection and float our egos for a little while, though eventually wane when the realities of burdens and calendars and trials come our way. Though we are created with the need for human love and affection, the desire for pure and true committed love will prove its own value and worth over time. We mustn’t settle for only the physical relationship that romance brings. Know that your worth is found within the creation of your heart and soul and mind, not your body. After all, beauty is fleeting. Seek the fulfillment that will fill you up for a lifetime not a season. {Passionate love.Eros} 

True love. Love as a sacrificial, servant-hearted, overflow of charity: love. Isn’t this the example of love in its purest form? The kind that we all desire for our lifetimes and crave for eternity? When diamonds are forever, we must ask: is this love forever? Love is honoring your other half when it’s hard to bite your tongue. Love is waking up everyday laying down your own needs for the betterment of their own while praying for the same in return. Love is building up their character and integrity and reminding them of their true worth. Love is walking into the fire together and forging your bond in the trials of this life – united. True love will not change according to circumstances. All other loves are needy. They require something of it to be fulfilled. Agapé love, however is the purest form of necessary love and the greatest of all. It fills the void left by friendship and romance and empathy. Unconditional as it loves without any need. Pure as it supersedes the need for any work. Charity. The greatest of virtues readily available to each of us. This is the love we are created for. {Sacrifical Love. Agapé}

When Valentine’s day comes and goes this year, whether you find yourself in a committed relationship, longing for love, or single and ready to mingle? Remember the many different forms that love bears. Recall that you are capable of giving love and not just receiving it. Reach out to a friend or family and share an act of love that doesn’t always require something in return. And I promise, your heart will overflow in ways that you will have trouble explaining. And just maybe… that is the greatest example of Agapé that we can understand. Seek more. Choose more. Know your worth. {Agapé}

{References: Proverbs 27:9 ; Proverbs 31:10; John 15:13 ; C.S.Lewis  The Four Loves}

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