Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Love" by any other name...

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
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
My goodness, just look at how I've frittered away this fine springlike morning. The case of Cabin Fever has apparently devlolved into Spring Fever in a matter of hours. While I'll take Spring Fever over the other any day, it results in the same feelings of distraction and daydreaming. I must really do something besides watch the snow give way to the sun.

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.

I'm not sure where we lost these finer points of the word, but I think we need to broaden our definition, especially in preparation for tomorrow. Some of us have found our soulmates in this world, but many of us have not. Just because we find ourselves in any category other than white, heterosexual, young, entitled, and in possession of large amounts of discretionary income, we still should be able to celebrate the day. In the sacred name of Love, let's embrace all the meanings of the word.

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!


  1. WOW! You are such a painter with your words. Just pure delight! And oh so beautiful...

    Love to you today and thanks again for the "painting" . Oh and the musical choice was perfect!

  2. Thanks so much, Vicki. I can't thank you enough for your oh so kind words.

    I hope you had the chance to enjoy some sun never know how long it will last!

    much love to you today,

  3. Happy Valentine's day by all four definitions. Well, maybe not the first one, except I wish that for you you're surrounded by romantic love to the extent you're looking for it. Hugs

  4. Thank you, Dubby! Same to you. xoxo

  5. Love is all you need.

    xx oo and many many many many tiny hearts

  6. Oh Yeah, Reya.

    MUCH much love your way today...hope your birthday was filled with love! ♥


  7. I love Renoir. He also painted ballerinas. =D Edith Piaf is always cool too. I am happy I stopped by today! Have a lovely Valentine's tomorrow whether you are sending cards, eating chocolates or praying with the saints. I hope some spring flowers find their way to you too.

  8. i had heard of the first 3 words for love in greek, but not the last - learn something new every day!

    happy valentines to you jo♡

  9. Linda, I'm glad you stopped by today, too. I hope you will have a lovely Valentine's Day, too. I assure you, chocolate will figure into my day for sure...spring flowers would be fantastic, though!

    Thank you so much for coming by.

  10. Hi Amanda...I claim to be Greek by adoption, you know. My Greek "mother" or "mitera" as she calls herself, has taught me well.

    She's kind of like living inside "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"!! I love her dearly.

    So glad to see you...looking forward to the next Goddess in the Dirt!


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