A few years back, I became pretty well known among my friends as an excellent cookie baker. We all simultaneously discovered this random fact and it seemed to become the highlight of our social gatherings. Every time we got together, no matter at whose house, Jason had to bake cookies. This made sense, of course, because I really love cookies. The warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven kind, that breaks apart in your hand before you have a chance to eat it.
The only catch was, I never made them from scratch—I always used Nestlé Toll House. I literally just plopped dough on a pan and made sure it was cooked at the right temperature and time. My friends knew it too. It wasn't like I was making them think I made these things from scratch. Did we love the cookies any less? Nope.
Love is such a weird word in the English language. We say we love bacon, dogs, our mom, musicals, books, and our significant other. But all these versions of love mean very different things. I certainly hope you don't love pizza like you love your mom, and I for sure hope you don't love dogs the way you love your significant other.
I LOVE BOOKS
I wasn't the biggest fan of reading when I was in high school. In fact, I might be guilty of using Cliff Notes for most of my papers—sorry Mrs. Brady. However, I did spend more time in the library than most other students.
Darel Veal, otherwise known as “The Great Librarian,” was by far one of the coolest and most influential people I’ve ever had the privilege of spending time with. I would stop by the library between classes, ask in the middle of class to go “check out a book,” or even come to school early and stay after just to swing by the library.
"He was never upset to see me, and it seemed we both were equally disappointed when our time together had expired."
His office was a treasure trove of old books, family photos, coffee mugs, and amazing music. Towering well above six feet, with a rough brown and gray beard, brown scraggly hair, and standard-issue round rimless glasses, he was (and still is) the picture perfect librarian.
Every time we were together, he would take me out onto the library floor and show me the new books that had just come in. He would even take the time to open some pages and share some hidden wisdom that he had found locked inside. Mostly though, we would just talk…about life, religion, politics, spirituality, history, and philosophy. He was never upset to see me, and it seemed we both were equally disappointed when our time together had expired. Gosh how I loved spending time with him.
It was through these wonderful encounters that I learned to love books. Now, I have a considerable "books I want" list on Amazon, and I constantly have to find new spaces in my apartment to store my collection. It's a wonderful feeling.
We've already established that the word 'love' is strange. We use it for so many things in the English language. However, you may know, in the Greek language there are four words we typically translate to 'love' in English:
Eros - Romantic love
Storge - Natural love for things (dogs, bacon, movies, etc.)
Agape - Unconditional love
Phileō - Friendship love*
No matter what kind of love you're talking about, it's important to recognize how we are using this word and to use it intentionally. One of my favorite authors, Bob Goff, wrote a book called Love Does. In it, he talks about the principal that ‘love’ is more of an action than a feeling, more of a doing thing than an emotional thing. Love is a commitment, not always butterflies and good feelings.
"Love has to be on-purpose, no matter how you use it."
The fact is, that real, authentic, love is only going to come from a handful of people in your life. Spend the most energy, time, and resources on them. Give them the brunt of it and the world the leftovers.
Love has to be on-purpose, no matter how you use it. Don't let people think you love them because you say it and it not be real underneath. Don't make people think you're making their love from scratch when it's really coming from a Nestlé package. Sure, they will eat it up all the same, but don't say you love someone just because you want their approval. Unlike cookies, people can always tell when your love is fake. Love someone because you actually care. Love someone because they matter. Let it flow from your actions, not just your words.
Until next time.