I believe in love because I believe there are things in this world which are true, good, and beautiful. Some may say that there is no “truth”, or that “beauty is only in the eye of the beholder.” Some may also say that there is no such thing as “good” – only subjective things that one likes or dislikes. But I would say that without Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, I wouldn’t care to exist. Without these things there can be no love.
Without Truth – real, objective truth, what is there but a cacophony of opinions where only the loudest or the one with the highest consensus wins. What if there is nothing beautiful by itself? Again, all you are left with is opinion with no such thing as the actual “quality” of beauty. Beauty becomes just an imaginary attribute that one places on something. Goodness too – what if nothing is inherently good? This way of thinking leads, inevitably, to nothingness, hopelessness, and meaninglessness. I know this is where it gets you, because I’ve been there.
When I was younger I began to believe that the whole “church-thing” my parents had me going to was just another way to control people. I began to think there wasn’t any real truth, only his truth or her truth. I had a real “whatever-floats-your-boat” kind of attitude toward life. Slowly, this way of thinking led me to the depths of depression and then drug abuse. What I thought was freedom to do whatever I wanted, freedom from any right or wrong, actually only led me to uncertainty, confusion, and fear. I had no direction except trying to satisfy my appetites and escaping from my fears and the world. Being separated from truth, namely, a God who loves me, led me to be blind to the things in the world which are good and beautiful.
It’s no wonder then, that when I began to turn back to God, I also began to see more clearly the ugliness I was involved in – lying, stealing, etc., and I began to see the beauty in the world. I began to see that the things my parents told me about God weren’t said to control me or just to keep me out of trouble, but that they were true. God did and does love me. I began to see that getting high all the time, stealing, doing everything selfishly for my own pleasure or comfort and not caring for others was wrong – was ugly. The love, however, that my parents showed me was beautiful. Their immense patience and their ever open and welcoming arms always reminded me that they loved me, and that when I returned from where I was I would have a resting place. The way that they never prodded me about going to church or told me I was bound for hell, but only gently invited me to return to God and to them.
I met with this great mercy and love again a few years later in my wife, Clare. She had lived, from what I can see, a virtuous life before she met me. I had to be honest with her about my past and she put my fear at ease with a rare gentleness. She told me that my sins were no more scarlet than hers and assured me of her love for me. This act of acceptance and mercy was a beautiful thing!
And these are the reasons why I believe in love. I believe in love because I believe that people are inherently good – that people desire to love and to be loved. I believe that there is real beauty in this world – that a sunset is beautiful in itself and not just because most or all of the people on the beach think so. I believe that forgiveness and reconciliation are beautiful things too that show forth goodness and love. I also believe that there is such a thing as Truth, namely, a God who loves us, but also the truth that water is wet and the wind is felt and that music is heard. I believe in love because I have seen and experienced Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in this world and it cries out to be shared, and in that sharing we love one another as we ought. When we don’t share it or we say it isn’t there we stamp it out and we’re left with nothing. I believe in the true, the good, and the beautiful, and so I believe in love!
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