Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The faces of love

So I read The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho, and it speaks about the three types of love - Agape (the love that consumes: God's love), Eros (romantic love) and Philos (friendship love).

Now this information is not news to me. I've heard of these before. But the book has set me to thinking about these faces of love...

Friendship love is, for me, the easiest to understand. I have no difficulty feeling and expressing affection for my friends. And accepting it from a wide variety of people. Also, I am constantly amazed at the depth and splendour this most humble form of love can demonstrate. It is the comfy pillow upon which peaceful dreams are dreamt, the warm down duvet in winter, the cool breeze in summer. It is a long icy cocktail and a cup of rich hot chocolate. It is the joy of being at home.

Agape - I adore how it is interpreted as "the love that consumes". This is the love God expressed by sending His Son for us. I don't think we have the ability to fully understand this love, but I am very glad that it exists, and that we are the objects of this divine love. It consumes all guilt, al tribulations, all worries, anxieties and pain. This is the love that heals completely.

Now Eros is another matter!!! From the first puppy love demonstrated by hitting the boy in the primary school class, to the soul-wrenching pain of the first broken heart of mature love, this is the face of love that elicits the most comments, songs, poems, books and thoughts. I think it is the "Helen of Troy" of all forms of love. Gorgeous enough to launch a thousand ships, but deadly enough to cause strong men to fall. It enraptures, beguiles, enchants and mystifies us. Even Solomon in all his wisdom admitted to not understanding the way of romantic love.

It is, at its best, a feeling of pure joy that bubbles from the warmest room in the infatuated heart. And at its worst, it has the power to crush said heart into a meaningless pulp of sadness. In the film Shadowlands this question is asked: "why love, if losing hurts so much?". I'm still not sure what the answer may be. I don't know anyone who has not seen the painful side of love. But I know many brave souls who venture out again to attempt to tame this most dangerous of beasts...

They are the most courageous people I know.

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