What is Love Anyway? (1/5)

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In 1983, the frock-topped, pop-synth artist Howard Jones posed the question, “What is Love?”  (I won’t bore you with the details of my 1980’s partial obsession with British pop -- let’s hear it for the Pet Shop Boys!) Jones’ conclusion? Take a look:

“And maybe love is letting people be just what they want to be
The door always must be left unlocked
To love when circumstance may lead someone away from you
And not to spend the time just doubting”

Perhaps, Jones wonders, love isn’t always a good feeling resulting in you getting exactly what you want from another person. What if love is to accept people where they are, even if it means they would distance themselves from you? And I would add, “Would you still love them?”

In 1983, my prepubescent mind didn’t (and probably couldn’t) comprehend what Jones may have been articulating. His music was popular and his hair was tall (that’s pretty much all you needed to sell records in the 80s), so I sang along without comprehension. Looking back on it now, it appears obvious to me that Jones was pointing to romantic love which was not reciprocated. He was professing an unyielding devotion to someone who did not appear to return the sentiment within the four-minute track.

The unrequited love in Jones’ song is a theme as ancient as humans. Many a poet, songwriter, or movie has told this story. It’s something we relate to and identify with as human beings. But what if I were to tell you that one way love -- loving out of secure identity, without expectation of getting something in return -- points us to a story that truly defines love? What if the very root of love in its purest form is based in being one sided?

Jones’ question has burned in my soul for decades. “What is love anyway, does anybody really love anybody anyway?” Thirty-five years later, I believe I have learned some answers that may be of benefit. While I won’t undertake the task of fully articulating what love is, I do believe that the distinctions I’ll present could be helpful and perhaps not what you would expect. This short series of blogs will seek to explore what love is and why that is good news.