THE TRUE MEANING OF LOVE
- Fidelis C. Odogbo
You know, sometimes it is hard to talk or write about love because it has always been viewed from different standpoints, against the backdrop of divers cultures, beliefs and traditions. So many of us define love with allusion to our background, past experiences and points of references like TV soap-operas, romance novels, love magazines and pleasure movies.
We often talk about love in relation to feelings and infatuations, but in this write-up I dare to define love from a very different and lonely angle.
There are four Greek names for love. This discovery makes me see that love is like a tree that has fruits, and each fruit stands for a particular function with regard to relationships that exist between human beings. However, there is no order of preference to their definitions.
The Greek word ‘phileo’ is used by ancient Greeks to talk about the love that exists between people of like interest. It means to be emotionally attached to someone by reason of a pleasant individual personal characteristics. That unique charm in a person that attracts people’s admiration and makes them desire his friendship. It is a liking one takes to another.
The second Greek word for love is ‘storge’: it is use to describe the love that exist in a family between sibblings. It is that love you have for your brother or sister that makes you willing to fight
uninvited even to the last pint of your blood, to rescue him/her from the hands of an enemy. That love that cannot allow himself to sit still and watch his brother or sister being beaten to death.
The third is called ‘eros’: It is the love that is meant to exist by law, only in a marriage institution between a man and his wife. It is where the word ‘erotic’ derives its meaning from, which usually describes sexual love. Sadly today, this love exist everywhere as lewd acts of incest, rape, prostitution, adultery and fornication. The marriage institution is forayed with infidelity- husbands having extra-marital affairs, wives
flirting with lascivious advances, all disrupting the laws of marriage in an open show of defiance, gratifying sexual orgies with reckless abandon for sanctity.
Eros is the kind of love that defines sexual attraction to another and nothing less.
The fourth is called ‘agape’ it is usually referred to as the God kind of love. It is action oriented and often looks beyond the fault of its object regardless… making a deliberate choice and deft moves to show kindness and
generosity. It is the love that is acted out from a mental assent of the will and puts no conditions to his generosity but instead expects nothing in return. It keeps no record of wrongs; it does not remember the
suffering that comes from being hurt by someone; it is very enduring and selfless in his thinking about others.
This is the kind of love makes wealth and success abound in our homes. If we care to reach out to one another in a show of deliberate love to ease our sufferings, put food in the mouth of hungry children, give warmth to abandoned children and provide clothes or shelter to displaced families of natural disasters, we will reap a harvest of blessings that are unaccompanied with sorrows.
Blessings of health, wealth and good success will not only visit us but will have our homes as their permanent residence. Even blessings that can outlast our earthly existence.
One raised finger of help from a loving heart can save millions from hunger and ignoble deaths. One small act of loving-kindness can make a grateful world. A little show of compassion can spark up a promising life and start up a chain of paying forward the good enjoyed. Selfish thinking can only lead to poverty. Selfless thinking, progressively brings us to the place of good success.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fidelis Odogbo is a freelance writer