Greenville Life Winter 2019 - Page 34

it’s about giving it. It’s about Agape. That unconditional and selfless love one for another that needs to be the source for all love. In our world, romantic love is at the top, but because that isn’t how we connect with most people we encoun- ter day to day, we don’t see the love that is there. Yet if we put Agape in its right- ful place, that self-sacrificing love, then even the little things around us become love. That person who held the door open for you while your arms were full? That’s a form of communal love. That kid who helped the old lady across the street? That’s a form of communal love. That friend who brought you chick- en soup when you were sick? That’s a form of communal love. And when we do these for others, we’re participating in that communal love ourselves and growing it. Isn’t that what we all claim to want? More love? The other danger of seeing love through the lens of Eros as the top love is that we are constantly chasing ro- mantic love to the exclusion of others. We often do not consider the conse- quences of our desires on others, and why should we? After all, “I want to be loved, I need to be loved, I deserve to 34 Greenville Life WINTER 2019 be loved!” The pursuit of romantic en- counters absorbs us as a society to the point that we even live it out vicarious- ly through celebrities. How sad. This mentality is the predictable outcome of a world in which romantic love reigns supreme. It’s a good thing run amok because it is not in its right- ful place. We don’t see selfless love as the first love or requirement, and if so- ciety thinks about selfless love at all, it is somewhere down the list. In fact, we’ve put together entire television shows based upon it. Shows like, “The Bachelor” and “The Bache- lorette,” for example. Do these shows glorify the full spectrum of love? Do they glorify an enduring and mature love that leads to a 50th wedding anni- versary? No, they highlight and glorify a lustful romance between two people and further put into our social con- sciousness that intense and passionate romantic love is all that matters; and adults and children alike eat it right up. All of our society’s obsession with all things sexual can be traced back to a search for love. We all want to be loved and accepted, and unfortunately, soci- ety tells us that we can only find that acceptance when someone is loving us like we see on TV. Is it any wonder then that people are depressed and angry when they don’t have “someone?” Af- ter all, having “someone” is the key to happiness, or so society keeps telling us. If you want to be happier in life, if you want to feel more loved, if you want to have more love around you, begin with yourself and examine your view of love. Is Agape the highest form of love in your world? Does every act of love in your life aspire and reach to- wards it? Do you see the things around you as love flowing from that ultimate selflessness that is true love? If you can shift your paradigm and look at things a little differently, you will find that the world isn’t just full of love, it’s overflowing with it! You just have to be able to recognize love when you see it and not buy into the idea that unbridled romantic love is the pinnacle of human love and emotion. The more we learn to selflessly love others, the more we will see the selfless love in the world around us. D Author Wes Trueblood III is a pastor and minister in San Antonio, where he is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Christian Ministry. He lived in Greenville until recently, managing the local chapter of a global charitable assistance organization.