There are thousands – more like millions – of sentiments offered up on the subject of love. Quotable lines from Socrates to Shakespeare to Shania Twain – the joys of feeling it, the woes of losing it, and everything in between. Because so much of society's focus is on the "Lost and Found" aspects of love, it's a vulnerable emotion indeed.
Maybe nowhere is this vulnerability more obvious than in the vast bookstore sections devoted to the subject: "How to" attract love, "How to" hold on to it, and for the ultimate in not-so-subtle vulnerability, there's even a bestselling advice book called "He's Just Not That Into You" – currently a major motion picture released just before Valentine's Day. With so much energy placed on relationships, it's no wonder that the question arises for so many of us on a regular basis: Is love absent or present in my life?
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, asked that question another way: "Are thoughts divine or human? That is the important question" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 462). She was leading readers to a love that is spiritual and totally God-derived, that gives us the right to open up to an expanded view of what constitutes true love and to find infinite ways to express that love and to see it expressed in our daily lives. Discovering our inseparable link to God, Love, as His idea enables us to feel enveloped in a love that is present and powerful and ready to be claimed this moment.
A well-loved hymn points to the direct and immediate benefits of identifying with divine Love: "Love looseth thee, and lifteth me …" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 160). Those words impel us to elevate the concept of love beyond the culture's interpretation of getting it/not getting it, giving it/not giving it, having it/not having it. Identifying with divine Love brings freedom that loosens us from the constraints of human love, allowing us to experience relationships in new and sparkling ways – outlined by the Creator, not by us. We come to understand love as an activity that we participate in, where we live as the natural expression of God's love for His entire creation. This in no way belittles or rules out human affection – it just makes us know that it's not where we find our completeness.
And isn't the desire to feel complete what motivates the desire to love and be loved? A passage in the Bible gives a vivid sense of that: "We love him, because he first loved us" (I John 4:19). That statement transforms "how to" love into a love that's already whole and doesn't need to be tinkered with. Turning to our divine source, which is infinite, embraces us in a love that we ourselves express as pure, spontaneous, and selfless, free from the "shoulds" of interaction, in which we are evaluating – or being evaluated by – others. No longer are we trying to find or improve human affection, but we are instead God's own children, claiming our spiritual identity as already established "in Love." With the assurance that God loved us first, we associate with His loving qualities, and by this association, we reflect them and see them reflected, in all aspects of our lives. Rather than going after someone or something we think we need in order to make us complete, we can rest in the understanding that we are already complete, already loved by God.
Our completeness includes the confidence and consistency that can be found only in our relationship with God. It never leaves anybody out in the cold. There is never a situation where Love is inactive, absent, or inaccessible. This gives us a secure sense of peace and well-being, in which we are never vulnerable but always victorious. This is the Love that is the message and the messenger, the Love that embraces each one of us, every day of the year.
Lamentations 3:22, 23