“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure;
to find him, the greatest human achievement.”
- St Augustine of Hippo
What is it that you seek?
If I can be so bold as to assume, that above all else— it is to be loved and to love.
Being loved can never be understated nor overstated for that matter, for I believe it is the greatest desire in the heart of man. We hunger and we thirst for this desire to be met within our innermost being. We search for this love in relationships, in the affirmation of what we produce and for a time, we find ourselves satisfied... although not wholly, for no man nor thing can satiate the deepest craving within our hearts that is reserved only for God to fill— with Himself.
All that we have personally experienced, seen displayed on movie screens and within ink bound pages are but fleeting, fragmented and distorted shadows of the truest reality which is only found in Him. I can only write from my own personal experience, limited of course, but from what I have gathered of myself and of people near and far— there is a despairing heart cry to be loved, to be seen, to be known and to be understood. I have hardly comprehended the magnitude and depth and glory and mystery of love, but I humbly make it my life’s pursuit to personally experience and be embraced by His inexhaustible love in all it's fullness. For I have found nothing in the pleasures of this world that have ever been truly able to gratify the longings of my soul, or none that I have seen in those around me. The desire to be loved is not wrong, we were created to be loved and to love— but the way in which we have sought love is often at the cost of others and ultimately, ourselves. Maybe we have misunderstood what love actually is. We are overtly and subtly told that love is what someone can do for you, that by loving them, only then will you be loved. If you do something wrong, you don't deserve love and if someone harms you, they deserve your hatred. It is transactional. Self-seeking. Conditional. It is dawning on me that as I write, just how weighty and incredibly layered talking upon love is. We don’t tend to see the world as it is, but rather how we are. How I define and see love is potentially vastly different to your idea and experience of love. My intention in writing this is not so I can assert as what I know of love to be of the highest accord but rather, to enlighten even one heart that love may be infinitely greater than what you have ever known. When you have personally experienced something radically life changing, wouldn’t you also want to share that with the world? So here I am, little ole rah, writing in hopes that even just one person would be encouraged. I am in continual need of every moment, of every day for my mind to be renewed in the understanding and transformative power of love which can only be known by knowing, in the truest sense of the word, the One who is Love.
In one of my favourite books, ‘Into The Silent Land’, Martin Laird writes that; “The creator outpoured love and we the creation; the love outpoured.” We were created out of the overflow of love, by love and for love. Unfortunately, we live in a fractured world that if we were to be truthful with ourselves, intuitively we know something is missing— something is inherently wrong, as though the way the world is and what we know of love isn’t how it should be. Surely, there is more? A growing restlessness gnaws at us. For what I knew of love before I encountered the love of God was painful, conditional and found wanting. I settled for a love which fell short entirely of who and what I was created for. What if, as Mumford and Sons writes that; “Love, it will not betray, dismay or enslave you— it will set you free.” What if, you could know a love that is unconditional, without measure and not based on anything you have done or haven’t? That which your heart so desperately desires and thirsts for.
Almost two years ago I inked the inner part of my upper right forearm with the word “ἀγάπη" (Agape) which is greek for Love— the highest form of love in one of the four types of love (Eros, Storge, Phileo) found in Ancient Greek. Agape love is described in this way: "Agape doesn't love somebody because they're worthy. Agape makes them worthy by the strength and power of its love. Agape doesn't love somebody because they're beautiful. Agape loves in such a way that it makes them beautiful." Love that embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance.
When I began writing this, I will be honest, I was on the couch moping and dismayed by harsh thoughts that were prevailing in my mind. A gentle whisper cut through the chaos and asked me simply, “What is it that you seek?” At the core of my being, I deeply desire to be loved and from this place of knowing how loved I am—to be able to return that same love to those around me. We cannot hope to give to others what we first do not have. I pray for the grace and the strength to always make the main thing, the main thing— to love and seek God all my days and to love others. “We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 As with any love that is true, it must be a choice, not enforced or coerced into. There is a holy invitation the Divine maker of us all invites us to, but that which He has given us the gift of free will to either receive or to reject. Knowing, that some will deny His offer of self-less love and others will misconstrue what His love is. In spite of all this, He loves us still. Relentlessly, He continues to pursue our hearts, to the farthest ends of the earth.
May you discover the beauty of love, as it was made to be.
make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much
Seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we pardoned;
And it is in dying that we inherit eternal life.”
—St Francis of Assisi, 1181 - 1226