Monday, June 08, 2009
Day 1: Love—J.L.S.
Love. What a perfect example of the inadequacies of the English language! The Hebrews have multiple words for the concept of love. C.S. Lewis wrote about four kinds of love just to make up for the fact that in English we just have the one word. To say "I love this meatball sub" is certainly not the same as saying "I love Kenneth Branagh". The love of the meatball sub and the love of Kenneth Branagh are two different things, and yet we use the same word. To say "I love my friend Reba" is certainly not the same as saying "I love my Mom". They are both people which make them more similar than the love of a meatball sub, but still are two different things, and yet we use the same word. To say "I love Aunt Matilda" is certainly not the same as saying "I love my husband Toby". While Aunt Matilda is obviously marked in difference by the fact that she is a woman and Toby is a guy, there still is a little similarity once again in the fact that Aunt Malitda (as far as we know) and Toby are human, and further similarity still in the fact that both are related to you. But again, the love for Aunt Matilda is not the same as the love for your husband, Toby, and yet we use the same word.
And what about Rumpelstiltskin? I LOVE Rumpelstiltskin. I don't love him like a meatball sub. I don't love him like Kenneth Branagh. I don't love him like a friend. I don't love him like my Mom. I don't love him like my aunt. I don't love him like a husband. Come to think of it, I can't even love him really. He isn't real. I suppose I could love the idea of him. I suppose I could love his fairy tale story. Then what's in the love of Rumpelstiltskin? I suppose here lies a common thread between all the different kinds of love in the English language: love is both tangible and intangible. It is both a manifestation and an expression. It can be manifest in an action or a gift. It can be an emotion that is expressed through words. Its object can be the person you spend the majority of your life with or it can be the visionary ideas you spend your life living out. Yet with all things pertaining to love there is a sense of the tangible and the intangible. Maybe I just love the name Rumpelstiltskin. But until we find a better way of expressing all the different kinds of love in the English language, I'm just going to say...I love Rumpelstiltskin.