“4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” God
When all is said and done love is the finest thing around. It is the beginning and the end and everything in between.
So what exactly is love? Well, that is a hard question because love manifests itself in many different ways. There is love between man and wife, love amongst friends, and love between a father and son to name a few aspects. Though love is emotional love goes well beyond a feeling.
I had a recent conversation with a friend over a certain person we don’t particularly care for much. I told my friend that we needed to show this person, unconditional love. My friend then asked if we don’t like this person how could we love him? Love is an action word. Love is not a mental thought but rather it is manifested in our deeds. So in this particular case, we treat the person with respect and dignity, just like we would treat any other person. We would say hello, engage him in conversation, lend him a hand if he was in need. Probably just as important we would overlook his negative behavior.
The core of Christianity is love. After all, God is love. Love was demonstrated in the life of Jesus in both the way he lived and what he taught. Unfortunately, many ‘Christians’ don’t even have a clue to what love is. In this nation genocide and chattel slavery was done all in the name of the Christian God. Many ‘Christians’ are zealous for war. Ironically they are against abortion but seem to be adamant against helping the fetus once he becomes a baby. But hypocrites and fakes do not make the lessons of Christ any less valid.
A key part of love is sacrifice. It is easy to treat others kind when there is nothing to lose. But when a person has to forfeit something than love becomes more intense. Say for example in a marriage. If both spouses are healthy it is easier for them to live together. But what happens when one of the spouses gets sick or has some difficult problems. What if the wife or husband cheats? A good part of genuine love is giving up for the sake of another. Love isn’t coming out on top but rather being a servant. We must look at life not saying ‘what can I get?’ but asking ‘what can I give?’
Love is what the world needs now. If we simply “Love your neighbor as yourself,” about ninety percent of our problems would vanish. There would be no more war, or homelessness, or starvation or poverty. But alas, we live in a world saturated with hate and evil. That is why somebody who genuinely loves others becomes so attractive. It is a rarity. Most people have some kind of angle. Look at politicians, they make all these promises to the people, but forsake them in their selfish ambitions. A person who is genuine in standing up for all people is a rarity.
It is a good thing to take care of family but that doesn’t make a person great. I think of Neil Young and his wife Peggi who helped the Bridge School out so much. While this is noble it is not exceptional as conveniently enough they have two children helped by the school. What Neil Young does through Farm Aid is more extraordinary as it is more like pure charity.
Of course, the highest and hardest form of love is to show love to one’s enemies. While such a notion seems illogical and impractical to many it is not. Think of it this way, if you show hatred to your enemy things are never going to improve. The hatred will prosper until you devour one another. However, if you love your enemy there is the possibility he will become a friend.
Love means acceptance and that is exactly what the mentally ill community needs. People with mental illness suffer from low self-esteem. We need somebody to reach out to us, treat us kind and welcome us into their homes with compassion. In fact, that is what the whole world needs. It is time to stop hating and love one another.
“Murmurings Of A Mad Man” is a book of poetry written in strict meter and rhyme. It tells of my time in Graystone State Psychiatric Hospital. https://amzn.to/2TEZ9EK
I recall it is seared upon my heart
Engrained in my brain never to depart
How I lay upon cot gazing at lights
Mystical magical nocturnal nights
I saw reality, naked, barren, true
I lost all, save I thought the love of you
My mind broken, depleted, beyond insane
All was emptiness and nothing was vain
In a place of disgrace we called Graystone
Where madmen echo in chaotic moan
But your love, steadfast, gave strength to get by
I chuckle, I laugh, your love was a lie
I AM GOD ETERNAL MAKER OF LIGHT
And you the QUEEN OF HEAVEN my delight
The visions were but electrical lamps
And I but another of lowly tramps
We huddled in ecstasy so profound
Flying, soaring, high above on the ground
Worlds away imagination unbound
I sing a song with sympathetic sound
Your love was but a symptom of my woe
But how was I to know, was I to know
You were a hollow wicked empty one
That the sum of your love was only none
Not a thought, not a care, neither a prayer
Not even near me giving what you share
I have left Graystone it’s a memory
And you mean far less than anyone to me
A haunting relic of a ruined past
I would have given you blessings to last
A psychiatric patient that was I
Nobler then a hypocritical lie