Monday, August 10, 2009

The Word Love

I love the Gospel of John. I love the poetry. It begins: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was made flesh. The idea of Jesus as God’s words is so beautiful it makes me want to weep. I love words. Words are so distinctly human. Angels do not need words, animals can not use them.

Conversation is at the heart of relationship for humans. Communication, be it in personal relationships, the workplace or child rearing, is the buzz word for successful human interaction. We need to know how to communicate our feelings, wants, desires, and expectations to those around us. We do this primarily through words.

Jesus as the Word of God is the personification of God’s desire to communicate with His creation. And John goes on to try and sum up the Word. It seems impossible to believe that something as complex as the Divine could be boiled down to terms a human could understand. John boils it down to just one word: love. God is Love. Why do we not study the Gospel of John in writing 101?

The Word of God is Love. It is so simple, no adjectives or adverbs, just one word. But then, the word gets in the way. I have heard that the English language is unique in its incredible specificity. I heard a great writer once say that for every idea, there is really only one right English word. For example, we have a specific word for distinctions in water temperature: freezing, cold, temperate, warm, hot, boiling, scalding. But what of the word love?

We love our dog, chocolate, our spouse and children. We love God, books, curtains and shoes. This simply will not do. We need more words. Or do we? God is Love. It was the one right word for the Idea. But how do we grasp it as a mere human? I think, like water temperatures it is all degrees of the same thing. Love is our ability to put someone or something above ourselves. For things like chocolate and shoes this is temporary. For those humans in our life, the goal is to make it a more of a permanent state of being.

And isn’t this really what God was trying to communicate to us through His son? To be truly human, we must learn to put others first. Christ was the personification of self-denial. He was perfectly human in His ability to always put others first.

Why do you want so many children? I am asked. There are so many, many reasons I could give. But if I had to choose just one, I would say love, no adjectives or adverbs or clarifiers attached. With the addition of each child into my life, my heart expands. The capacity I have to love increases. I can feel it in a physical way. My heart aches with the effort to expand to be filled by all the love a child brings into my world with him.

Nature gives me what I need to put my offspring first. It is an instinct for which I can not really take much credit. But unlike the female lions, rabbits or robins, I can give it a word: Love.

To be a mother, is to Love. Period. End of Conversation.

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