One of my favorite things to do is dig deep into the meaning of words. I take a word and try to decide what I think it means in a general kind of way then I get my dictionary out and my “FlipDictionary” (a very cool kind of thesaurus). The dictionary definition gives me new ideas about the meaning of the word and then of course I find synonyms and look those up….it is sometimes a tortuous journey through books, websites and words but one I love. (I once spent part of a day in graduate school touching and reading an original Samuel Johnson dictionary published in 1755. Touching with white cotton gloves of course…and the special collections’ librarian at Zimmerman Library watching me so I didn’t do anything inappropriate or damaging!) Anyway, nerd that I am, I can get lost in a dictionary and my own notations about one word for hours!

I explain this as an introduction into a series of blog entries I’m beginning today on the meaning of the nine fruits of the Spirit listed in St. Paul’s letter to the Christian church in Galatia. He writes to encourage them to live by the Spirit and love each other rather than being selfish and living for physical excitement that will eventually destroy their lives and relationships. He writes the fruit of the Spirit will bring life: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. I try to bring them to mind on occasions when I need to be reminded to live in the Spirit and examine my actions for evidence of the kind of life I choose to live. So I am thinking that a week of in-depth examination of the meaning of each word and how it might look in my life would be valuable.

So, of course the first is LOVE. Probably the most used and misused word in the English language I would imagine. And probably the word-slash-feeling we humans think we understand the most! Let’s see. From my own experience and understanding I already know that love is a feeling, but more than that. I know there are different ‘kinds’ of love….brotherly, romantic, sacrificial, unconditional etc. I love the word love! It is short and kind of wavy….reminds me of a psychodelic wave of neon colors and bubble letters from the 1970s. Can you see it? LOVE! Even the exclamation point is all bubbly! You know you see it! LOL!

Well, anyway, on to the dictionary definitions. First….Wikipedia: LOVE:

“Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment.[1] In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindnesscompassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, “God is love” or Agape in the Canonical gospels.[2] Love may also be described as actions towards others (or oneself) based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.[3]

In English, love refers to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure (“I loved that meal”) to interpersonal attraction (“I love my partner”). “Love” may refer specifically to the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love, to the sexual love of eros, to the emotional closeness of familial love, or theplatonic love that defines friendship,[4] to the profound oneness or devotion of religious love.[5] This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.

Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts.

So, that is today’s blog! LOVE, think about it! Ponder it, consider it today! Tomorrow I will dig a little deeper into the meaning for me personally and hopefully I can move on to “peace” later in the week. I am thinking I could probably take a full week on each fruit…..hmmmm.  Ciao! LOVE!

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