News and Tribune

January 31, 2013

MAY: A love of another kind

By TOM MAY
Local columnist

— In America, we love lots. Pizza. Sunshine. Presents. The new television series. A scary movie.  Walks in the park. Well-written literature. Decadent desserts. Afternoons at Wrigley Field. Time with the family. Moments alone. 

There really is no end to the things we love.

We fall hopelessly, madly in love with someone, and life is completely turned around. Movies are produced to display it, novels are written about it. Songs are composed about it, melodically proclaiming love from palaces to pads to iPods. 

We stand and cheer when Sam Baldwin and Annie Reed finally meet at the top of the Empire State Building in “Sleepless in Seattle.” Our insides turn and our eyes get a little weepy over Jack and Rose in “Titanic.” And what young lady can resist the twinkling eyes or hairy back of a werewolf in the twilight of an evening?

We love french fries and the way we feel when we’re on vacation. We love our children and we love our job. Love, love, love, love. With apologies to John Lennon, it surely seems that all we need is love.

Joseph Burgo, a professional counselor with more than 30 years of experience, explains that for many, love really becomes just an obsession. On his blog, www.afterpsychotherapy.com, Burgo writes that people often want to devour the object of their love. 

“For them, to be in love means to take possession of somebody or something else and swallow them whole. It is a very primitive type of love,” he writes.

But just as we can become obsessed with someone or something, we can just as easily tire of it. Falling out of love is the common thread that most people ready to separate attempt to weave. 

The mundane repetitions or the over-bearing boss cause us to be unsatisfied at work. We tire of food at the same restaurant. ’Til death do us part is about as meaningful as a bald man with a comb. Circumstances change feelings. Feelings find new affections. Affections blossom into affairs. Affairs divide properties and assign visitation.

Dividing property is big business. Tabloids feverishly cover the separations and divorces of celebrities. Fans follow them. Lawyers and business managers wink and make money from them. 

Forbes magazine recently wrote an article detailing the 25 most expensive celebrity divorces. Topping the list was the parting of ways between Michael and Juanita Jordan. They say that you cannot buy happiness, but the Jordans attempted to rent it for more than $150 million dollars.

Rich Mullins, a folk-styled songwriter from a couple of decades ago, composed a song describing a different kind of love. Amy Grant, not unfamiliar with the ups and downs of love, first released it on her “Unguarded” album in 1985. 

“They say love brings hurt; I say love brings healing. Understanding first, it’s a love of another kind. They would change their tune; they would add another measure. If they only knew, a love of another kind.”

What if love did not end? Would we sing a different kind of song? What is love really was enduring? Would that change how we act?  

We would marvel at a love that is patient, a love that is kind. Our hearts would melt at a love that wasn’t arrogant and proud. We would be puzzled if someone’s love was not self-serving, containing seasonings of subversive or ulterior motives. We would stand in awe of a love that genuinely forgave wrongs, remembering them no longer. We would be amazed at someone who really could honestly love in that way.

That kind of love is a love of another kind. It is a love that we all would be drawn to.

— Tom May is the Minister of Discipleship at Eastside Christian Church in Jeffersonville. He is an adjunct instructor in the Communications Department at Indiana University Southeast.