Alex Anderson

It is what it is

Thoughts on Love

2014-02-21 Alex AndersonSpiritual

I know that I’m a couple of days late, but I still feel it appropriate to share these things. What follows is some excerpts from my mission study journal. Because the subject is so important in missionary work and in life in general, I kept a page where I wrote down my thoughts about Love. I covered the whole gamut, from mere friendship love to Charity to romantic love. By no means do I consider myself an expert, but perhaps these thoughts really do shed some light on such an amazing subject. Most of what will follow will be quoted directly from my journal with some editing. I would love to get some comments on this post.

There are five words in Greek which all translate to the English word “Love”: platonic friendship love, familiar love, brotherly love, romantic love, and the word which translated to Charity in the King James Bible: the greatest and most complete form of love. This is the motivator for all righteous action, especially those performed by the Father and the Son.

John 15:12-14 says, in part, “Greater love hath no man than this: that he lays down his life for his friends.” Some could take that verse to mean that in order to show the greatness of your love for someone, you must die for them. I disagree. I believe that it is much more powerful and enduring to show your love by living for the person. It is what Christ did, both before and after his death. Both in the sense of romantic love and in the sense of loving God, to love is to give your all: all you have, all you are, all you will be. It is to give of your time, your possessions, your interests, your caring, your thoughts, your emotions.

To be loved is to have someone who cares about you, who is there for you in your good times and your bad times, a shoulder to cry on and a voice to laugh with. Every person has a story. When you love someone, you want to know theirs. You want to deepen your connection with them by learning all about them. You want to know what makes them who they are so you can them weave yourself into the tapestry of their life.

The best way to let someone know that you care about them is simply by listening to their story, by letting them bear their soul to you, and by letting it actually mean something to you. Sincerity is key. To love is not easy - opening your heart to someone (the Savior included) and giving yourself to them makes you vulnerable, easy to hurt. However, Christ’s love is perfect. He will never deceive, the hurt you feel from His love will only make you grow. It will be hard to truly love Him because He asks much of us. But if we do, we will gain greater sense of love in general. Love is more than an affection or an attraction; Love is a principle of selfless action.

It is against our selfish human nature to have true love. This true love motivates you to help someone else become a better, happier person with no thought of personal gain or reward. This is what motivated Christ; it should be what motivates us.

The five hallmarks of love:

  • Joy - Naturally, love brings joy. For some reason, to be with those that we love fills our hearts with contentment. To hear the persons voice makes our souls brim with gladness.
  • Action - One cannot passively love another. For it to truly be love (and, especially in the case of romantic situations, not lust or infatuation), one must act with boldness and confidence without trepidation, fear and worry.
  • Quiet - True love has cooperative communication. Sometimes one partner speaks and the other just listens; sometimes both speak and discuss. But sometimes, there is complete silence which communicates more than words ever could. Have you ever seen (or perhaps experienced) two people who truly love each other simply sitting with hands clasped? Or perhaps walking down the street without saying a word to each other? This is not the silence of hurt feelings, but the quiet of love which speaks volumes.
  • Team - You cannot love by yourself (look at what that did to Narcissus). However, loving in a team means cooperation. This is the part of love where you would do anything for them and they would do anything for you in return. This is where you work together towards a common goal which neither of you could possibly have reached on your own. (The analogy of rock climbing comes to mind).
  • Hurt - Love hurts. I mentioned this earlier, but love simply always hurts. Take the Father Himself. With his perfect, infinite love, He is still hurt incredibly by the mistakes and wickedness of His children. They say Christ literally died of a broken heart for the sins of the world. Nothing can stop the hurt of love from occurring. It is what comes from that vulnerability which you give in exchange for the love, the vulnerability which also makes the love so sweet and good.

Here is an example of both sides of that. On my mission, I was separated from my family for a time. I love my family dearly and missed them. The thing that I wanted most, and what I’ve wanted most with anyone that I’ve loved, is simply to be with them; to be in their presence. (Remember, our main goal in this life is just to return to be with God.) When I could not spend that time with my family, I longed for them. I savored every email and every letter I received. I thought about them; sometimes I could convince myself that they were close and I could feel the comfort of their presence.

But when I opened my eyes, they were gone. The longing returned. The only way it could be satisfied is by returning to their presence again and being with them. Then I would feel fully of their love again. Keep on connecting this to our life on Earth and returning to Heavenly Father. In my absence from my family, it was almost like a void filled my heart; each and every day, the hole grew deeper and deeper. The continued separation made me yearn to be in their presence more and more and the hurt grew. But when we finally were reunited and love filled my heart again, it had more room to go. The volume of love I could feel and experience had increased because of the pain, and in the reunion, the love was sweeter, more deep and more wholesome.

A woman with 8 kids was once questioned “How can you divide your love evenly between each of your children?” Her response: “I don’t divide my love; I multiply it.”

One more thing: FAMILY - Forget About Me. I Love You.

Cheers!