My longsuffering husband would probably say ‘Yes!’ Accompanying me in a swim to an island near Cape Tribulation, would be a standout example. ‘Our landlord knows if there are crocs around’, was my rationale. Against his better judgement, David came, hoping to protect me. The ancient Greeks would have nodded sagely, their worst fears confirmed: this Eros love is dangerous!
The Greeks had many words for love, because of its different forms. Afraid of Eros (romantic love), they preferred other types. Eros would hopefully lead to Pragma in long term couple relationships. A mature love formed by deep understanding, Pragma is willing to make compromises to make the relationship work. An attitude of wanting to give love, rather than be the recipient, is at its core.
Philia is the deep love of friends, based in loyalty, sacrifice and sharing of emotions. Storge is used to describe the safe, understanding love of a parent for their child. Philautia is self-love of two varieties, with very different outcomes. Narcissistic Philautia has an obsessive focus on self and its acquisitions. The preferable Philautia cares enough for itself to be physically healthy and emotionally stable, enabling it to love others well too.
I think David’s love for me when ‘swimming with crocs’ was the highest form of love, Agape, described by C.S. Lewis as ‘gift love’. It is selfless and freely offered to everyone, including strangers. Christians regard it as the highest form of love, extended by God to us, and for us to emulate. Agape is the word used in the popular biblical wedding passage 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a (NRSV)
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
And, yes, that kind of love can be dangerous. Please share it around anyway.
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.