Wednesday, January 6, 2016

To Love and Be Loved

Mohammad Ramtoola ヅ was confused when I asked him how to say in French
the word "lover".

"What do you mean?" he asked back;
"Someone who you love, or someone who loves you?"
For apparently they are two different words.

This highlighted an important fact,
often overlooked:
Love is not a monolithic thing;
there are actually TWO components to it:
to love, and
to be loved.

For most of us, the 'to be loved' part comes easily.
ever since we are born our parents have showered us with love 
we are loved just for the fact that we are us: their children.
And so we grow up not just taking the
food, clothing and shelter they give us 
for granted,
but also love itself as a given.

With time we reach teenagehood
and suddenly the urge to fall in love with someone else -
a "lover" -
creeps into our psyche.
when teenagers say they want to fall in love,
often they still mean they want 'to be loved' - 
more than they actually want 'to love'.

Because although teens 
have the bodies of adults,
they still have the minds of children
when it comes to the matter of love.

And so it takes the passage of even more time 
to mature us into people who truly learn 
that 1st component:
'to love'
(Maybe, even, it takes us to have our own children 
before we truly learn that).

without BOTH components present,
a relationship cannot work properly.
The Malays have a saying, apt to describe
a relationship in which the parties are willing 
only 'to be loved'
but not 'to love':
"tepuk sebelah tangan"
"to clap with one hand" -
a futile act.

It is the same in our relationship with God;
that relationship is a love story,
and so it too has TWO components.

'To be loved' by God is obvious
ever since we are born.
It is He who has given us our parents 
via whom He has given us
food, clothes and shelter.

Question is have we learnt that 1st component of love
in this love story with God?
'To love' him is to worship him exclusively;
to put him above yourself and 
all the attractions of this dunya.

And no, He doesn't need our love 
for He is free from need.

It is us who stand to lose out 
in this world and the next,
attempting vainly to clap with one hand
if we don't learn eventually 
how to love.

Reminder to self.