After examining all the stories in this edition, I’ve come down to a mental juxtaposition on the matters of love: some say true love is only in choice and not feeling, and some say both.
Tim Reed’s story on God’s ultimate “Public Display of Affection” reminds me of the song that includes the lyrics, “…and heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss.” Did God have a choice in that? Or shall we say He was compelled by love because He is Love? And since He is compelled, so are we. But if we are compelled, then is it really a choice?
Kristen Leach’s story about love in loss shows me how we can find greater love in the midst of suffering. We observe Christ’s example. And we see there is a choice in how the attitude affects the behavior. Yet, I read the story about Jared Reando and his “not-so-much-love” for the game. Though his choice was not compelled out of love to play basketball, he did so because he had free time and said “why not?” Here, his behavior affected his attitude. Interesting.
In dealing with identity, the story by Abby Thiessen about dating up or down delves into sociology. The author writes how we should not seek to appear “better” in the social realm based on someone’s status, but rather, if they have those good, invisible attributes of the Bible, then we find a hidden treasure passed by one who does not see such inner beauty. Yet, if we are walking a godly path, would He allow us to choose a dating partner that is not fit for us because we chose out of how good of a status they may have? Perhaps that person should have widened their “sphere of consciousness” to the attractiveness of the unseen inner beauty. Perhaps.
And perhaps (in a totally unrelated way) one could read The Great Divorce by Mr. Lewis and wait for “the one” to sweep her away. Unless, you meet your future husband in a dark parking lot unknowingly, like Debra Biaggi, and you’re ready to gouge him with your keys between your knuckles.
But what if love isn’t a choice? If our identity and worth is not based on what we do but rather our Imago Dei as stated in the article “Why do you Love Me.” Then could perhaps my love be just as compelled to exist (or not) dependent on how much the Imago Dei is known to me? And then again, if I continue to muse on love, I find myself charged with human responsibility.
If you only take one story out of this edition and read it, you will only go away with a piece of the bigger picture. But if you allow yourself to be changed by the stories and actually ponder and converse upon these glimpses into people’s lives, you will realize that this edition is more than sweet nothings whispered by a Shakespearean poet. So when it comes to understanding what love is, you decide.
–Aaron Esparza is editor of Muse and a senior Communication Studies major at Multnomah University.