Agape

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“I love pizza,” you say to me.

Do you really?  Perhaps you like

The taste.  I am sure you’re grateful

For it, because we have been at

This competition all day long

And we are now finally having

Lunch at three o’clock.  But love? No.

 

Would you throw yourself in the path

Of an oncoming projectile

For the sake of your beloved pizza?

Would you reject every other

Food and devote yourself to

Pizza alone?  Of course you wouldn’t.

You don’t love pizza any more

Than I really love these super

Comfy new shoes I am wearing.

That simply is not what love is.

 

Love is bravery, a sparrow

Battling a snake to save her clutch.

Love is joy, the reunion of friends

Held dear but long kept apart.

Love is sorrow, the mournful song

Of wolves burying their fallen comrade.

Love is peace, an anchor against

The strike of famine, war, and storm.

Love is fire, which would rather

Burn through suffering than grow cold.

Love is water, life-giving,

Life-taking, inexhaustible.

Love is saying “You are broken,

Flawed, and misguided.  Sometimes

You reject me and insult me.

I think sometimes you hate me.

That’s alright.  I still love you.

You may bruise me, whip me, nail me

To a tree hand and foot, and cheer

While you watch me bleed but I still

Love you and I am not going

To stop trying to save you.”

 

The Greeks called it agape—

Self-sacrificing love.  In English,

We use the same word to describe

Our affection for our friends,

Families, books, socks, and pizza.

I’m guilty of this too, I know.

We all fall into hyperbole

From time to time.  On occasion,

Though, we need to take a moment

To remember what love truly means.

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