Cupid? Or Love?

MANY of us are familiar with the legends about Cupid, the god who could bring romance by shooting someone with his magic arrows. It was believed that the very first person the individual saw after that would become the object of passionate love. This system obviously leaves a lot to be desired, both in terms of the choice of the beloved and of the reliability of Cupid's marksmanship. And for some of us, it may seem that Cupid just never gets around to us.

It's a good thing that genuine love doesn't depend on the whims of a mythical deity! And, in fact, each of us can experience love that is profound, permanent, and trustworthy. This love doesn't rely on other human beings--although sometimes it is expressed through them. We can feel it whether we are alone or in a crowd. It brings us peace, strength, and comfort because it is the love of God, of Love itself, and it is infinite.

Perhaps this isn't quite the type of love characterized in romance novels, popular music, or childhood dreams. But if we really think about the kind of love these sources are recommending, we begin to see why such love is as unreliable as a mythical marksman. Love that rests on externals tends to be subject to change. People age, change, lose their sensual allure. But love that rests on spiritual qualities such as goodness, joy, purity, strength, intelligence, has a more permanent basis.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes this point in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She says: ``Love never loses sight of loveliness. Its halo rests upon its object. One marvels that a friend can ever seem less than beautiful."

Love, beauty, and other qualities come to us from God, whose whole purpose is to be Love, and to be expressed as love through His spiritual idea, man. You and I, as God's sons and daughters, are actually designed to express this permanent, spiritually based love. We know this from such sources as the book of Jeremiah, where God says, ``Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."

We see the faithfulness of God's love illustrated in the life of Christ Jesus, who certainly was challenged on every side. Yet the equanimity that he expressed, no matter how much danger or evil he faced, came from his certainty that he could never be cut off from God, divine Love.

Even when we seem alone, prayer enables us to feel the presence of Love, of God. This prayer doesn't need to be complex; simply embracing the thought of God as our loving Father-Mother may be enough.

I remember that during a time of family crisis when I was cut off from my mother, a particular friend would ``just happen" to call whenever I really longed for some mothering. She didn't even know the details of the challenge I was facing. Yet through her own spirituality and through God's loving care for me, she would always be there when I needed a ``mother" to talk to.

We each have our own needs and desires for love, of course, because we are all individuals. Yet one thing we can be sure of is that as we spiritualize our longing for love, as we see it in terms of qualities such as joy, purity, goodness, and integrity, the love we obtain will be more satisfying and permanent. It will also be less vulnerable to human pressures and misunderstandings that grow out of the belief that we are material, instead of spiritual, beings.

Wherever we are, we will always find God's love expressed in many different ways in our lives. Just look for them--they are all around you in small ways and large. And they are a lot more reliable than Cupid's arrows!

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