Thursday, February 14, 2013

No Love Lost

Some sayings I like. Some I use unthinkingly, until at some point I ask, “What am I saying?” Some I reject completely. Such is the case with the phrase, “There’s no love lost between them.” People say “There’s no love lost between A and B” when A doesn’t like B and B hates A. Neither one has any use for the other. “No love lost,” as if love were a substance or commodity that I can expend on someone, like a twenty-dollar bill or a box of chocolates. “Go down to the corner store and get me $15 worth of love, so that I can use it up (lose it?) on a friend.” The whole concept of losing love by giving it is ridiculous. In fact it is the opposite of the truth.
Love is not a commodity, not a substance that can be grabbed out of the air. Love is something I, you, you and I, have the unutterable privilege of creating. It is a choice—the choice to love. I choose to love you. I choose to treat you with love and respect. I choose to have affection for you.
There are, of course, many definitions of love, many expressions of love, many types of love. It is my belief that normally when people say “no love lost” they are referring to the friendship type of personal attachment and affection, the liking of someone else, or at least love of all humanity expressed in basic human kindness and compassion, if not full-blown sacrificial love. In any case, and by any definition, love is not lost when expressed. It is created. It is increased. It is amplified. If I love you, it doesn’t mean I love anyone else any less. It simply means more love has been created with which to love you. Loving one daughter in no way decreases my love for the other two, nor does loving them lessen the love I have for my son, the love I create for my son. Neither does it decrease my love for my wife.
This is such a wonderful concept, it is a shame our modern world has no conception of it, as attested to by this wretched phrase, “no love lost between those two.” It is when two people do not love one another that love is lost. When they love one another, love is created.
Much has been written about free will over the centuries, a lot of it negative, but the ability to self-actuate, to move oneself to activity, to choose a course of action, is a great privilege. We choose to think, we choose to speak, we choose to do. Every time we do so, we create. We bring something into being that did not exist prior to our choice. What a privilege. What a joy! What a miracle.
Of course, this puts the onus on us, not G-d or gods or evil or the devil or the universe or the guy down the street (or in the White House), but us, you and me, to think and speak and do what is right and good and just and worthy of praise and beneficial. It is up to us—in a word—to love! What a blessedness. What a joy divine! Choosing to create love.
In closing, I just want to say a word about our loving children and children-in-law. They live this, and what’s more, they are teaching their children to live this. They treat their families, their friends, their co-workers, their associates, their acquaintances, and every one they meet with love, affection, kindness, compassion, friendship, to the greatest extent possible in every situation. In short, THERE IS NO LOVE LOST with these guys. They don’t expend it. They don’t lose it. They create it and share it and shower it on others.
For that I give thanks to the ultimate Giver of love, the Eternal, the All-Wise, the “without-which-not” of all existence, from whom all blessings flow! Amen.
Here’s how “The Message” puts it, in the immortal words of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church:
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.”
It never gets used up!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

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