Love has been a challenge. Searching for it, finding it, maintaining it, and enjoying it; all of it. Being a single dad, love with my daughters is easy. I have all the love in the world, unconditionally and in abundance. It’s raw and original. Giving and receiving love between my girls is effortless; I don’t have to think about it. It just happens. The Greeks call it storge, a natural affection. It’s a familial love primarily between parent and child, or old ladies and their cats. Same same.
But it’s the other three types of love that the Greeks defined that interest me. I have a significant portion of Greek in me, and it’s something I’m proud of. My one and only tattoo is a Chi Rho, an early form of what people call a christogram, bringing together the X (chi) and P (rho) of the Greek word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ meaning Christ. I’m no model Christian, I haven’t been to church in, well, God knows how long. I don’t even like being called Christian. My relationship with my God is my business, not the burden of another. I’ll spare you that.
So, now that you know I’m not going to knock on your door with a pamphlet about the end of the world and how you can save yourself today, things have been changing for me. My brain has increased in activity lately. Chemical reactions are happening. I can feel the oxytocin running through my veins. I’m smiling more than ever. I’m excitedly nervous but without fear. The balance of life between parenting, working, developing, writing, and where I choose to spend my time has tottered in an unexpected but very welcomed direction. I met someone, and right before Valentine’s Day. Damn it God! So it made me think of love, and what it means to me. I’ve spoken of it so loosely, almost carelessly, and I don’t want to do that any longer. I want to cannonball into it.
Agape, so say the Greeks, is selfless. It’s sacrificial and charitable. This love is delivered whether there is a welcome reception or not. C.S. Lewis, in The Four Loves, used agape as a way to describe a love that is simply for the well-being of another. There are no conditions in loving this way. He believed this was the crème de la crème of all love. Many people, especially Christians, refer to this love as God’s love. Personally, I don’t know if I’m capable of this kind of love. Even though I still live paycheck to paycheck, behind on bills and taxes, and stress about money often, I have to stop myself and look around. There is an abundance of other very valuable things provided for me that I do not deserve. That could very well be the love of God; I do not know but I’ll take it.
Another type of love is called eros, named after the Greek god of sexual desire and attraction. I know, I know, I’m not supposed to worship other gods but now you have an understanding where the word erotica came from. This type of love is sex, attraction and all that madness. The Romans have their own Eros named Cupid, carrying bows and arrows and shooting people all day long and ruining lives. Many of our classical authors have written about eros, that many times it ends up in disappointment. This love is physically selfish and temporarily reciprocated and flipping awesome while it lasts. And that’s its problem, eros doesn’t last. It needs another love to support it.
Philia, not to be confused with my philophobia condition, is my favorite kind of love. You’d think storge would be but storge is more of a blessing. You can’t compare the two. Philia is friendship at its finest. This is the love I share with my friends, my real friends. No one holds grudges here. People that are full of drama, negativity, and unhappiness will have a very difficult time finding this kind of love. This is saying to yourself, when thinking of that person, “They are good. I like their character. I can relate and I have no shame to offer or receive with this person. They are always welcome in my home, and I’m free to share my thoughts with them.” This love shares all the laughter and tears between unrelated persons. I like this love.
Last night I told her I don’t want to date anyone else, only her. As physically stunning as she is, I knew she’d be the one I’d pursue within about 30 minutes of our first date. Never once have I thought about sex with her, how I’ll get her in bed, or any of that – I swear to God! We’ve barely danced around 1st base, and I’m okay with that. The friendship is inevitable, I can feel the philia. We are communicating in a way I’ve always wanted. She’s even said she doesn’t want to read my blogs so that she’ll get to know me, by me, personally. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to eros my way all across her everything but I’m good where I’m at. The sexiest thing about her isn’t her looks anyway, sorry Charlie. It’s the fact that she is already happy, and she happens to love the most important thing of all: Herself.
And that’s the only love that isn’t so Greek to me.