Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Agape

We have one word for love. How very silly of us. Such definition can't be wrapped up in four letters.

The Greeks, in their linguistic prowess, had four words for love. Now that's more like it.

They have a word for the kind of love that is all inclusive, healing, unconditional, and wholly other: Agape.

Agape:
a profound concern for the welfare of another
without any desire to control that other,
to be thanked by that other,
or to enjoy the process.

~ Edward Nason West

Do I love with an agape love? Can I?

Certainly Christ is the example of this love; am I capable of anything near?

"A profound concern for the welfare of another." That part seems simple enough. Do I want the best for that person? Sure.

(Welfare: Check.)

"Without any desire to control that other."

Hmmm. I don't think of myself as a controlling person; I truly don't. And yet, do I allow my children their own God-given free will, without an air of control over their public displays that others may project as a reflection on me? I could tweak this one a bit.

(Control: Work on this.)

"Without any desire to be thanked by that other." Well, if I intentionally gave anonymously, then I impose no need for thanks. I hope such a gift is between God and me, the recipient being his glory.

But if my name is attached to it? If my children saw me fold their laundry? If I shopped and wrapped, if I served and loved, do I wish for a nod in my direction?

Agape says, nope. You don't need to be thanked. At all.

"Without any desire to enjoy the process."

He's got me there. I do want to enjoy the process. I would like to have fun, to laugh, to think, to exchange worse for better. I would like to enjoy it, even in the humble exhaustion that comes from serving hard.

As a mom, agape love must be all there is.

I signed up for their well being; I did not sign up to control, to be thanked, or to enjoy every day in the journey. No guarantees on those last three criterion.

I daresay the truest friendships I enjoy are those that model this agape love.

Those who have given selflessly in this season of my life,
who want what is best for me even if it does not involve them in this moment,
who do not keep score in the thank you ledger
(of which I will - for the rest of my life - be behind),
those who have stayed in these long miles,
even when the novelty had worn off,
when the searing heat of the crisis had passed,
when the hurt became a daily ache,
when my tears were contagious,
when the nights were late,
the hours were long,
the list continued,
and the process wasn't enjoyable.

May agape be mine.

And may it flow through me.

5 comments:

Jaimie said...

I know that I am at least theoretically capable of agape love because, as a fiction writer, I have that kind of love for (or of) my characters. Theoretical people, theoretical love. But in actual life, no way...

I think mothers have the best kind of agape love.

LindseyB said...

Tricia, I've been following your blogsince the begining of this new chapter. We have a mutual friend that I adore that asked for prayers for you, your family, your boys that day. I have prayed for all of you since that day. I read your words sometimes with tears, sometimes with laughter but always reading. Never wanting to comment just take it all in until today. Agape love. So powerful so real so wanted. Tricia although we have never met as a mother of 4 boys (one being a Tyler) I relate to the dealings of little boys and their crazy ways. I learn from your raw emotion, your love for Christ, and your strength to get through eachday in this new life you are navigating. Thank You for sharing your journey with me I don't know if our paths will ever cross but if you ever make back to Ohio they just might. God Bless you and your beautiful family.

Terry said...

"agape" IS your love tricia and it IS flowing through you dear!
i for one sure am enjoying each of your postings and seeing all the love there...enjoying them selfishly on my email and not taking the time to comment ...i guess not having a lot of time...but now i do...that bernie is out weed eating the lawn and so i am going to get caught up...ha! "getting caught up" is my middle name!

you know, i never knew there were four kinds of love in the bible but i did know about "agape"...in our area is a huge valley that has big buildings on it that is called "agape"..in the summer it is filled with children and they learn bible stories and have loads of fun...something like a giant vbs all year around it is...in the winter the children go there and have hay rides and sledding...when the winter snow melts, the maple trees give up their sap and then the children and anyone else who would like to come and have maple syrup and pancakes and sausage at any time of the day.
all a midst this the bible is weaved in.
and i don't really know how many thank you's they get tricia but some day in heaven, they will see the results of sowing the seed of the lord with unselfish love in their hearts.
..and tricia, you are ALREADY enjoying some of the results of your unselfish love in those boys of yours....god bless you and thank you for all the bright days that you give to me and my husband...love terry

Terry said...

ps...tricia, when you write the book that you are planning on, it is none of my business but i think that you should write TWO..sometimes when i read your bible posts, it makes me think of the times that i used to read, "streams in the desert" and "springs in the valley" written by mrs. charles cowman...such great writings...short and easily read and yet so full of truth, just like your post here.

Graced! said...

Friends don't have a thank you ledger.

I agree, agape is the requisite M.O. for parenting. In that job, we teach our young ones love (and how to discern and apply its facets), diligence, discipline, faith, faithfulness, gratitude, graciousness, honor, respect, responsibility and more. While most of those lessons don't naturally sponsor a thank you, if we do our job consistently (and only by God's grace and strength) we find we have raised a friend, as well. Not the goal; but the cherry on the cake of parenthood.