Philio (I Love You)
In the novel, The Notebook, which was made into a movie, Nicholas Sparks wrote this: “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds and that’s what you’ve given me.”
Love can be the driving force in our lives, only if we let it. Many of us avoid using the word love because it embarrasses us. We hesitate, because we are insecure in expressing our true feelings. I love God; I love my wife and family – even my in-laws; I love the people I taught, the people I worked with, the people I pray with. I love the way the checkout woman at Harris Teeter smiles and laughs as we share a friendly conversation on how the day is beautiful outdoors, even when it is raining so hard we can’t see the cars in the parking lot.
There, I’ve said it; I love! I love to Love!
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, in my words, to love God with our all (you can fill it what this is); he then said to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This is a powerful statement. We must love ourselves and then broaden love to include all people and all things – things created by God, as he created us.
I am blessed to have found within me the ability to become an effective teacher. I learned this by teaching people how to use a camera, how to see the world through a camera lens, and how to frame an artistic photo. I used this new-found ability of mine and returned to school to receive my masters and doctorate degrees to improve my knowledge and ability. These gifts were inside me; I just had to open myself to accept them. These gifts broadened my love for everyone- even those I disagree with.
The ancient Greeks had many words for love, but there are four that are the most used.
Philia is the word they used for brotherhood, friendship. So, when I say I love the checkout woman at Harris Teeter, the Greek way would be to use the word philia, meaning that I love this person, because, she and I share a common existence; we are both struggling to live a comfortable life.
The second is Storge; this is one’s affections toward parents, children, all family relatives. This is stronger bond of love, because it is people we know from birth, or through marriage. This is family love, whether we like it or not. I’m referring to the love of in laws. My brother-in-law is with us in Duck this week; Karl is a wonderful, warm person. I love him as I loved my own sister. This Greek expression also represents the love one has for children. I love my forty-year-old children the same as I loved them when the were pre-teens. This familial love is strong; God made it so to bind us as a family. We need to extend this to those outside our family.
When we talk of passion, sexual desire, the Greeks refer to this as Eros, you know, our love god. Sometimes, we call him Cupid. This is deep passion; God gave us this form of love so that we had the strong desire to continue humanity with raising children. It s strong desire that even when we reach my age, it is there, just harder to find. But aren’t memories sweet?
Finally, and most important, is Agape; this is our love for God, and through this love, our love for our fellow man, as both being children of God. This is the one that truly counts; it is, by far, the most important. I will let you fill in your own reasons for why. We all have our individual faiths and religions that teach us basically the same thing, but in different ways, stressing different aspects. The word agape is used by many organizations that promote helping those less advantaged.
What this boils down to is that by having only one word for love in the English language, it is difficult to wrap our tongues and lips around this one word to express our true feelings. Lucky, intelligent Greeks.
So, I will end by saying, I philio you. The verb form of philia.
Have a blessed day.