Thursday, May 13, 2010

عشق, αγάπη, אהבה, amor, любовь

Live, Laugh, Love.

This phrase is blasted across our society like some American motto that is coupled with the American dream. We desire to live to the fullest, to love romantically and deeply, and to laugh long and hard. After all, laughter expands a person’s life and love. These three fall together effortlessly. As much as all of these are desired, one rises above the others. Love.

Take a moment, pick up a movie, and pop it into the DVD player. Most likely, the protagonist will have a love interest within the first five minutes of the movie. Grab a book and a coffee, and then delve into that book. Within moments, the main character will have introduced their crush or lover. Flip the radio on to the nearest music station, listen to the words. Most likely, the music artist is crooning about a desire for love or a lover. The need for love permeates our culture - not just any type of love, but deep fulfilling romantic love.

At, there are over twenty definitions for the word “love.” The first fourteen definitions of love focus on ‘love’ as a noun. The rest view ‘love’ through the lens of a verb. Although these definitions consider ‘love’ as an affection for other human beings, most of the definitions suggest romantic love. Some of the definitions offer the idea of the relationship of a parent and a child. Yet, the main focus is summed up in the verb definition with the phrase “making love.”

Love is connected with the idea of sex and of ‘the one.’ It is also used flippantly in conversations when love is exclaimed for a specific tissue brand or a hang nail. Love, so widely used and so frequently emblazoned across t-shirts, greatly lacks the depth that it suggests. This love that the American culture is so familiar with is only a shallow imitation of what ‘true love’ was meant to be.

“What is love?” Nevershoutnever sings. It’s a question that floats in the subliminal regions of the brains of culture. People point to their parents, to Mother Teresa, and to different celebrities. They find examples of love, but are they true examples? Nevershoutnever says it best at the end of the song, “What is love? See, I don’t know anymore; I used to look up to that love.”

The question of love has been a reoccurring one. In a sonnet by Hartley Coleridge, he questions, “Is love a fancy or a feeling?” It seems that no one knows what love is exactly. Yet, Coleridge answers himself with, “No. It is immortal as immaculate truth.” Love is truth so says Coleridge. However, people fall in and out of love with a speed that could out do a cheetah in a race. They explain their fall out of love with “oh, it must not have been true love.” Therefore, how can love be an immortal as immaculate truth?

There are many songs about love. One that is belted out by deep voiced Italian men is “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin. He sings, “When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore. When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine,
that's amore.” Love is compared with pizza pies and a drunken stupor. No wonder our generation is so confused. Love has to be some sort of tangible feeling of sublime rapture. Yet, the resounding question is still ‘what is love?’

“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love does not want what it does not have. Love does not strut, does not have a swelled head, does not force itself on others, is not always "me first," does not fly off the handle, does not keep score of the sins of others, does not revel when others grovel. Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts always, continually looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Now, that’s amore. That’s love.

This concise collection of sentences seems to be the best interpretation of what love is and is not. Perhaps true immortal as immaculate love is not definable, but this generation’s view of love should be challenged. True love has become detrimentally tangled in the ideas of prince charmings, glass slippers, and fairy godmothers. Love is more than sexual attraction and damsels in distress. It has to be.

Our generation searches for true love. In our true love, we are looking for something that fits the picture of Dean Martin’s song. It is a fancy and it is a feeling. Yet, Coleridge suggests that “love is immortal as immaculate truth.” This type of love transcends feeling and fancy. It is a truth. Love that is true extends to more than just one romantic interest. True love encapsulates family, friends, homeless, children, old people, cats, fish, etc. This type of love cannot be found in a human being but in one’s own heart. True love oozes from within.

So live, laugh, and love. But, the greatest of these is love because love never fails.