SHINE: Love by the Spirit — Loving Presence: Holding the Space Where Love Lives

SHINE! … By the Spirit™ with Tonya M. Evans

Loving Presence: Holding the Space Where Love Lives

© 2011 Tonya M. Evans

February 10, 2011

So often during the month of February, the emphasis of Valentine’s Day advertising is on Western notions of hot, passionate romantic love. Getting instead of giving. The “show me” kind of love. Love at first sight. Falling into love. Passion. Fire. From butterflies in the stomach to the lust-filled kind of feeling we sometimes experience with new love.

But with such a narrow concept and, I think, mis-conception of love, we neglect the other types of love, the more mature, more enduring kinds, that exist. And we are remiss in acknowledging that while romantic feelings and notions of Eros love often fuel the initial spark that ignites between two people, real, abiding and nurturing relationship cannot be sustained on Eros alone.

Eros love flares quickly, sometimes so intensely as to rise to the point of being all-consuming. It is dependent on “ideal conditions,” however, and can quickly dissipate when emotions change, feelings are hurt or life issues get in the way. It is far from “enduring love” although we’ve all seen those couples who’ve been together forever and still look at each other with the “gotta have you” spark in their eyes. The lucky ones, indeed!

Generally, however, such intensity cannot be sustained over the long haul without something more; without the type of love that exists and endures even when the person appears unlovable and the situation seems unloving. Quite simply, Eros love was never meant to be a constant state. That passionate fire we thought we couldn’t live without diminishes, calms, changes and, perhaps reduces to a slow burn. Or it can be extinguished entirely; that is, unless we tap into the other types of love God offers us so that we might offer it to each other.

These other types of love do not require ideal conditions; they are the types of love that require no conditions at all because they are unconditional. The “turn the other cheek” and “submit to one another” types of unconditional we, in our humanness, sometimes struggle to comprehend fully. The type of love that offers “space” to others that I call a “loving presence.” This loving presence focuses not on a desire for something (passion), but on simply being there, showing up for others in friendship (Philia) and then extending that friendship to the point of actually putting the well-being of others before our own (Agape).

Just as God loves us fully and completely without condition, we are called to offer the same in every relationship we encounter. Sometimes we are called to do this in close proximity over many years (family, marriage and partnership), sometimes for a particular “season” in life, and sometimes when we step into a crowded elevator or work or the classroom or pass someone on the street – or even (and especially) in your very own home.

So today spend five minutes meditating on the types of love that the Creator has provided. Ask for guidance on ways to strengthen your understanding and demonstration of the full range of divine love. Actively practice being a loving presence in all of your relationships and interactions with others. And remember, after the Eros love appears to fade, an opportunity to demonstrate and manifest mature love emerges. In that space, exists the divine opportunity to be a loving presence in the lives of others; to acknowledge and affirm them, and to serve them in love – without condition.

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2 Responses

  1. Now you know that is a WORKshop(TM) waiting to happen……Understanding & Living Love!!!
    Thank you for sharing the knowledge!

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