Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
February 13, 2006
First or last, all real love flows from God
Love gives power, passion and pain
Light One Candle
When was the last time you thought about your first love?
Unless you actually married her or him, the odds are that your memories of falling in love for the first time only come back to you when you are reminded of that person in some way.
Perhaps you'll be clicking the remote one night and find a movie you saw together (maybe even at a drive-in, if you are old enough). Or you might hear a song on the radio that you danced to at the prom. Or maybe it's Valentine's Day.
Most people find the trip down memory lane pleasant if bittersweet. It's always seemed to me that what made that first love so irresistible was not just how she or he looked, acted and spoke, but how we felt and how we saw ourselves when we were together.
Like so much of our lives, the special person who became our first love was, in some way, a reflection of our deepest desires and needs, however dimly felt or understood.
But, it's also true that there's something of a misnomer about the phrase "first love." The fact is, we loved and were loved long before we were swept up in that first starry-eyed romantic moment.
Our parents didn't just give us life, they gave us love. To a newborn, the face of love is Mom. And love is also the protecting arms of Dad. And all the others who cared for us in our first days and years - grandparents, aunts and uncles and other relatives - they all expressed their own love for us.
When we were a few years older, a lot of us felt the anguish of unrequited love when we had a crush on a teacher or someone like the little red-headed girl who caused Charlie Brown such heartache in the Peanuts cartoons.
Little by little, person by person, giving and receiving, we learn love - its power, passion and, yes, pain. We come to understand the truth of St. Paul's beautiful words about love at its best: "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, endures all things. Love never ends. . . . And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13).
Yet, however close we may be over the course of our lives with spouses, family and friends, I believe that there is always a part of us that's waiting for something else: a Spirit who will fulfill our longing and complete our being.
We long for the source and centre of all love. We long for God. The great 20th century Christian writer C. S. Lewis wrote about that moment when we finally embrace the spirit of love: "God will look to every soul like its first love because he is its first love."
First love or last love, all real love flows from God.
It has been said before, but I'll say it again, "God is love." The ability to love is his gift to each one of us on every day of our lives, including Valentine's Day - but don't forget the flowers.
(For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, write: The Christophers, 12 East 48 St., New York, NY, 10017; or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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