What an interesting Valentine’s day. And I know you’re probably “ugh”ing and rolling your eyes like “here comes sappy rambling about relationships and candy hearts and stuffed animals and cute cuddly couple activities”… and while there was some of that today (sorry guys) this Valentine’s was a lot different than previous ones.
For starters, I got only 3 hours of sleep. (Yup, after being with my grandmother the night before my parents thought it’d be fun to make the 2 hour drive back home at 11pm in the morning AND stop for food on the way -______-) But I woke up early to hit the store and sneak into J’s house to make him a sugary breakfast (we’re both sugar addicts, so it’s fine). I left shortly afterwards to go to church, and let him wake up to the surprise. There I heard words about Lent, about how people need to believe in a bigger god, bigger than what they currently perceive him to be.
But it wasn’t our Father’s sermon or binging on sugar that stirred something in my heart. Rather, it was the Youth Group session I attended later that evening after ending my date with J.
Our Youth Leader had a presentation about love and all of its forms to fit the Valentine’s day occasion, and her passion for the topic was revealed through her examples and personal stories and connections and was, overall, super inspiring.
I learned some new things, too– specifically the names of the different types of love we feel as human beings (..and their applications to the movie Frozen, lol– that was the example she used). And I think everyone should be familiar with them, to be honest.
The first she talked about was Eros. Coming from Greek, it means “desire” or “love”, but we commonly know it as the lusty side of love; the side of love that doesn’t think but acts on yearning and craving and physical fulfillment. (After pointing out some icky Songs of Solomon from the bible illustrating physical love’s delight, she referenced that part of Frozen where Anna felt love at first sight with Hans without really knowing anything about him. Let’s be honest– he was just serious man-candy.)
The second type was Philos (philia) Again with the Greek– it translates to “affectionate regard” or “friendship”. This is the kind of love we feel for friends and family– the connection we share that is sometimes physical but also largely mental. (This was exemplified by the relationship between Sven and Kristoff, and Anna and Elsa towards the beginning of the movie when they were playing happily with each other like good little sisters).
And lastly, we come to my Youth Leader’s favorite– Agape. (uh-GAH-pay) Translating to “love of the highest form”, this is the kind of love that is all heart and deeper than the human mind can grasp sometimes. My Youth Leader described that it was different from all of the other love forms– that it relies on holistic action, utilization of the idea “I love you therefore ____”. …And this kind of love serves as the centerpiece of Frozen– when Anna gives up herself and puts herself in front of evil’s blade to save her sister. This love, by default, is bigger than both people involved in it. Our Youth Leader said that if there is anything one takes away from the bible, it’s this kind of love. “To love each other as ourselves”, and just be prepared to put all of everything you are into a positivity that does nothing but touches and exudes out to other people.
And it’s cool how all of these fit together. This is a trifecta– you can’t have one without the other two. And it’s even cooler how the first two are just small steps that inch towards the overwhelming complexity of agape love.
After she finished her mini-sermon, we talked as a group about how the various forms of love were applicable to our lives. Some mentioned paying it forward (literally) in a line for Girl Scout cookies, others mentioned 100% tips in the food industry, and fasting with friends who weren’t Christian, but Muslim, as a form of support. I didn’t have a chance to mention what first came to mind, but that’s okay.
Some close to me know that I was adopted at a super young age. And I don’t know if I can speak for all adopted children out there… but in my situation… I can only imagine the amount of courage and agape required to make the decision my birth mother made. To knowingly give up your baby with the knowledge that keeping them may not permit them to survive; that giving them up to adoptive parents 3/4 of the way around the world would be the only hope for their survival and future. And though I never knew her (and doubt I will ever meet her), I have the biggest amount of pride and admiration for her act of agape– the selfless love that let me live.
My Youth Leader mentioned, as a symbol of how important this topic is to her, that she has “AGAPE” stickers on her car; that she hopes she can inspire us to share agape stickers with others.
Only, that these stickers won’t just be displayed on a car, but be adhered to others’ hearts.