By any other name would smell as sweet." - Juliet, Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2), William Shakespeare
|Roses et jasmin dans un vase de Delft |
Pierre Auguste Renoir, oil on canvas, 1881
This post will be short (really).
As we approach tomorrow's much heralded day of wine and roses, let us all remember that love takes many shapes. Of course it may come to us in romantic kiss of a loved one, but it also arrives wrapped in the hug of a child, the smell of a baby's breath, the smile from a friend, the furry snuggle from a pet, or even the kindness of a stranger passing by.
Love is in the flowers struggling now to burst through the earth's frozen surface, the azure sky above them, and in the mighty swells of the ocean. It's in the animals we are mandated to care for, the forests we are responsible for protecting, and the air we need to breathe.
Love is all around us, within us and without.
Our culture can sometimes cause a huge bit of its population to feel excluded by its commercialization of certain days. Valentine's Day is one of those days. It has always made me cringe just a little to see how a day devoted to saints and martyrs of the Roman Catholic church became a day devoted to romantic love. Oh, I suppose it's also devoted to the diamond industry, the florist industry, and the chocolate industry. Somehow, these enterprises have highjacked the true sentiment of the day.
If we are to have a day to honor the power of Love, let it be inclusive. Let us remember to have as our valentines, affection for the disenfranchised, the elderly, the lonely, the sick, the poor, and yes, even our enemies.
Let us honor the day by being kind to one another in word and deed.
There are four Greek words for love:
- Eros (ἔρως érōs): Romantic love (in ancient Greek, desire).
- Philia (φιλία philía): Love (but especially "platonic") (in ancient Greek, friendship).
- Agape (ἀγάπη agápē): Divine, unconditioned love. Sometimes Christians will refer to the love that they receive from God as Agape Love.
- Storge (στοργή storgē) Natural affection.
Okay, Sunday sermon is over. I just wanted to get that off my chest today. I'm heading outside now. I know that in a few days, that wiley old Mr. Winter will be back again, bedeviling us with his antics, and I don't intend to miss this opportunity to frolic in the sun for a while.
If we're going to talk about roses and romance and spring fever and such, it gives me no better excuse to go directly to Paris, to Edith Piaf, and "La Vie en Rose." Enjoy!