Reflections on Love and Life

Reflections on Love and Life

By Olusola Adeyoose

“What is life? Tell me, O white men, who are wise, who know the secrets of the world, and of the world of stars, and the world that lies above and around the stars; who flash your words from afar without a voice; tell me, white men, the secret of our life - whither it goes and whence it comes! You cannot answer me; you know not. Listen, I will answer. Out of the dark we came, into the dark we go. Like a storm-driven bird at night we fly Out of nowhere; for a moment our wings are seen in the light of the fire, and lo! We are gone again into the nowhere. Life is nothing. Life is all. It is the hand with which we hold off death. It is the glow-worm that shines in the night-time and is black in the morning; it is the white breath of the oxen in winter; it is the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself at sunset” Sir H. Rider Haggard in King Solomon’s Mines, 1885.

Those words are revealing. They call for careful reflection. Love is the essence of life. It is impossible to live without God and God is love. Love is the greatest of all the commandments. It is one of the greatest mysteries ever known to man. Love is the most excellent way. As 1 Corinthians 13 rightly says “if I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears … and now these three remain: Faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

What more is there to say? For in love, all things are beautiful. Live your life while you can. Show love to those around you. Spend time with your friends and loved ones. Show love to your parents, we are so busy growing up that we often forget they are also growing old. Medicine, economics, law though are noble pursuits; love, friendship, poetry we stay alive for.

Love creates, it builds, it nurtures, it enriches, it blesses. So great is the power of love that when misguided it could also decimate, annihilate, devastate, ravage and destroy. It was for love, that the men of the light brigade of the British cavalry sacrificed their lives at the battle of Balaclava in 1854 during the Crimean war. It was the love of Paris, Prince of Troy, for Helen of Sparta that brought enmity between the Greeks and the Trojans, led to the fall of thousands of warriors and eventual ransacking and destruction of Troy in the Trojan war.

Beautiful as love is, love is pain. For there is rarely love without ache, perseverance and endurance. We must be ready to stand for the ones we love and defend any cause we believe in, come what may. Should death come calling, then so be it. Of what use is it to fear that which can kill the body but not the soul? We must hold a firm resolve, and like a warrior, we must be ready to die on our feet rather than serve on our knees.

This isn’t in anyway easy. It takes courage to be loyal and true. But we must always try to be like Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who suffered and died on the cross of Calvary for the salvation of the world. This indeed is the greatest sacrifice of all. And this is what it truly means to love. Though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.

One of the worst afflictions that can befall any man is to be shown love by another and not recognize it/ appreciate it or to reject it. It is a terrible curse and I have nothing but pity for such people. For they wound the souls that love! It is a sad irony of life that we often take for granted the very things that most deserve our attention.

Do not be dismayed if men mock your admiration and ridicule your amiable affection. As it is written, in the last days, many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other. Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of many will grow cold. Let them persecute you, let them harass you, let them castigate you, let them malign you. You will not be the first; they did the same to your father in heaven. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Should we then because of this fail to love? Far from it! Don’t allow your wounds turn you into a person you are not. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. Our father in heaven is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. He causes his sun to shine on both the evil and the good, and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.

Nevertheless, respect yourself and never sell yourself short. Light came into the world but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Do not be bothered if they do not return your love or if they bring to shame your genuine affection.  Your reward is with your father in heaven, who rules in the affairs of men.

To love your God with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. For in all things, God works for the good of those who love him.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? God forbid! In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our lord.

Love is the passion that bleeds and to live is to love. Permit me to end this contribution with another quote by Sir H. Rider Haggard in King Solomon’s Mines.”It is far. But there is no journey upon this earth that a man may not make if he sets his heart to it. There is nothing, Umbopa, that he cannot do, there are no mountains he may not climb, there are no deserts he cannot cross, save a mountain and a desert of which you are spared the knowledge, if love leads him and he holds his life in his hands counting it as nothing, ready to keep it or lose it as heaven above may order” This is wisdom.

Adeyoose wrote from Ibadan.

He can be reached via adeyoosesola@yahoo.com

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