Love is a word people throw around a lot, especially this weekend. If you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself asking what love really is. It seems pretty clear to me there is more than one kind of love. After all, I don’t love chocolate, my cat, and my parents in quite the same way. Nor do I love them in the way I would love a significant other. According to an article from psychology today, there are seven basic kinds of love. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201606/these-are-the-7-types-love)
Some of these seven types remind me a bit of the Agape – Philia – Eros I was introduced to as a student at a strict Christian college. Agape was prized there, Eros was shunned, and Philia was undervalued. However, the word “love” got thrown around a lot, especially in a disciplinary context. I developed a disdain for it. “How can you love me?” I asked in my mind. “You don’t even know me. To you, I’m just a collection of stereotypes, an underling who doesn’t fit the mold of what you wish I was.” You can’t throw the word “love” around in the context of punishment and not confuse some people.
Since college, I’ve started to slowly unpack the baggage this word carries. I rejected the institution’s idea of love. I don’t find it biblical.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in lovehttps://www.biblica.com/bible/?osis=niv:1jn.4.18
So what is Christian love? Can we love those we don’t know? Aren’t Christians told to love their enemies? How does this all work? Yes, I’m still a bit confused. I believe that deep, true love requires really knowing someone and accepting them in spite of or sometimes even because of their flaws. But there are many kinds of love. So what do I know for sure?
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails . . .https://www.biblica.com/bible/niv/1-corinthians/13/
Maybe I can’t always deeply love some people. Maybe throwing the word around, saying things like “we love everybody” does cheapen love. However, I can always show people a facet of love. I can be kind, I can have hope for them, I can watch my actions so I don’t dishonor them, I can forgive them, or even just keep my cool and trust. May we all find ways to love today, tomorrow, and in the weeks to come.
I post about love around just about every Valentine’s day. It’s kind of a broad concept. Again, I encourage Valentine’s Day as a day to share love with friends and family, not just significant others. (Write, call, visit, or e-mail your mom, dad, grandma, sibling, friend, etc.) Lately, I’ve been thinking of another sort of bond we as humans often enjoy: bonds with our pets. (Maybe this is because my cat’s approximate birthday is February 15th?) Those of you who have pets, whatever species they may be, please take time to let them know they are loved this Valentine’s day, even if you have a date with a human.
This was my quick still life practice for the month.
I know llamas are not common pets, but it was a cute decoration, and I was looking for more stuff for my mantle. This is my love-love, Maggie:
(Cell phone pic of her cuddling with me.)
Valentine’s Day is Wednesday. That means many of us are thinking of romance this week and evaluating the love in our lives: presence, absence, and quality. As in years past, I’m celebrating the non-romantic love in my life and encouraging others who find themselves without that someone to share the evening with to do the same.
To me, looking for someone just for the sake of being in a romantic relationship seems like a game. Perhaps I wouldn’t know. I’ll admit I’ve never really gone looking.
I have my family for now, and my cat as well. Like previous years, I’ve sent cards and letters to some family members to let them know they are loved, and I am thinking of them. But my cup does not run over with love. I could be more loving in so many ways, even without looking for a romantic relationship. This year, I find myself wanting to strengthen the ties I have with my family and befriend new people – wanting to learn greater kindness and empathy for others. That is my love goal for 2018.
Next Month: Archive Nature
You can probably tell I haven’t shot any still life/table top in over a year. I’m so out of practice. What I did shoot last year was nature. Since I didn’t blog much, I have a good sized backlog of unedited photos to work on.
A bit of a late Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you. This is the time of year I really start wanting it to be Spring. It is also the time of year you can easily purchase a floral bouquet. Last week, I purchased a single rose and some “pompoms” at a local supermarket. I’m pretty sure “pompom” is just florist for big showy mum. Anyway, I set up the light and some backgrounds and pulled out the macro lens.
This was my pinkish rose. Lovely while she lasted.
Twirly in the center and a beautiful hue.
I stuck one of my old rings in it in honor of Valentine’s Day. There is nothing like a macro lens to show you how cheep your costume jewelry is. I spent some time retouching this one, and I’m about to swear I will never shoot it again. Nonetheless, it does look kind of romantic.
A little less seasonal, here is the “pompom”. This was more fun with the macro lens than the rose. I loved the long, spiky petals in the center.
Kind of off topic, but I wanted to say I know this can be a tough day for single people. Personally, I think our culture is a little overboard when it comes to celebrating romantic love. There are other kinds of love and relationships in most people’s lives that are worth remembering and celebrating on this day. So if you can this weekend, take a few minutes to call or message a friend or relative and let them know you love them. And remember, the chocolate goes on sale tomorrow.
For years, my family did the ornament every year thing. My sister and I would each get a new one from our parents. Sometimes, our extended family would also give us ornaments. We could get up to three in one year. Needless to say, our tree is full. We also collected a bunch of large, previously enjoyed beaded satin balls. These used to hang from the diningroom light fixture, but now we have cats. The satin balls would just be too tempting. One still resides in my room, where I can close the door at night.
I didn’t get to photograph our ornaments this week, but I would like to share this one old photograph from my archive. It’s from four years ago.
Wherever you go and whatever you do in the next week or two, remember that love is an important part of Christmas. It’s the perfect time to show others how much you care about them, and not just with gifts. With actions and words. I hope you all have a merry Christmas, and may this be a season of peace on earth and goodwill toward others for all of us.
Next Week: Archive or Retrospective
2011 is my first full year as a blogger, and next week’s post will mark the end of Post-a-week 2011, a challenge I’m on track to complete successfully. Due to the holiday, I may post later in the week, but I will post. It would be a shame to come so close and fail in the last week. I’d like to take a photographic look back at the year 2011, maybe including some photos I didn’t post earlier. Otherwise, I will at least come up with something archive to post.
Since Valentine’s day is next week, I thought I’d use this post to show some of my ideas and feelings about love. I’ll openly admit I don’t know much of anything about romantic love, so most of my thoughts are innocent and simple.
Being a bit tired of jewelry, I’ve decided to do some more abstract black and white next week. This may or may not include snow shots. It will be digital, and I’ll probably tint a lot of them. Hold on to your hat, next week’s gonna be different.
Last week, I shot some still life photographs using window light, a small mirror, and some white poster board. It worked pretty well, but I’d like some more control over the light. Maybe with practice, I’ll learn to get the control I want with what I have.
In the first photograph, the window was like a giant softbox for me. I used the mirror to throw a little more light on the necklace. The idea for the photograph started with the books. They have such texture and age, but on their own, they lack a single focal point. Since the books are about something I love (photography), I chose a heart necklace as the focal point. This particular necklace was a good size and also had a feeling of age to it.
The second photo was illuminated mainly by window light reflected from white poster board surrounding the pin. My only motivation for taking this photo was that I love this pin. The jewelry box seemed to be about the right age and I liked the colors together. I considered putting lace under the pin, but that proved too distracting. Thanks to Photoshop, you don’t notice the pin is actually missing a crystal. Any guesses as to which one? Let me know if you can tell, because that means I have work to do.
Next Project: Vases
Some time ago, I posted pictures of various parts of vases. I’ve been thinking I should show the entire vase and some more vases. I collected them at one point, so I still have quite a few hanging around. Check back next week (hopefully Monday) to see how it went.