H O W A R D   U N I V E R S I T Y

Faces & Voices 5
An Anthology
of Verse and Prose

the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

E. R. B

Faces & Voices 4


“Love on My Mind”
By Avion A. Gray

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

“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 wrong.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

      Sometimes when the nights are tiresomely long, and seconds seem like eternities, I seek refuge in the corners of my mind, just thinking…and thinking. Thinking about this thing called LOVE. This sentiment that is, as they say, inherent in us; the indispensable fuel that drives our every emotion…including hate. Hate is the antithesis of love, and without love, there can exist no hate; just as there would be no day without night, no wrong without an ever-prevailing right.
      Great minds and the miraculous journey of time have presented us with three broad paradigms by which to categorize the sentiment of love:
      EROS is defined as an aesthetic and poetic love; a love replete with romantic gestures, enhanced by the sweet scent of roses and bathed in golden candlelight. Passionate and exotic, Eros is the affection between lovers; two hearts ablaze, beating simultaneously to the same forbidden rhythm: one of fervor, as sweltering as the crimson sun, yet as pristine as springtime showers.
      PHILIA is likened to the type of love shared between friends, a love that thrives on self-gratification and favor. A love crippled if it is not reciprocated and extinguished if it is not nurtured. Philia is defined by our desire, as human beings, for social affiliation and a feeling of belonging.
      The third type of love is AGAPE…a brotherly love…a love of mankind in all its glory. Agape negates the significance of race, nationality and denomination; instead, it is driven by altruism and cloaked in fraternity. I once read that Agape is the love of God expressed to man, for one sees the wonder of the Lord in everyone around him.
      Whilst Eros, Philia and Agape are alive and real and will all take their course at some point in our separate journeys, I feel that it is my duty to pay tribute to a sentiment that has been, is, and continues to be, the foundation of my life…just plain old, unadulterated LOVE. Unlike Eros, Philia, and Agape, Love, in my opinion is indefinable. There exists no strict pattern to which love must conform, nor is it merely a by-product of age, experience or wisdom…for, to each his own and to each his love. 
      It is my belief that every human being, who has been created by the omnipotent hands of the Almighty, is endowed with the potential to love deeply, endlessly and unconditionally. It is the environment in which we thrive; the way in which that love is nurtured; the way in which we are individually taught to express that love, that sets apart one person from another.
      What is Love?
      God is love…Love is God
      No one really knows what love is, or exactly what it entails or demands…as life has revealed to man the shenanigans of love. In an effort to understand it, explain it, control it, predict it, we have labeled it “blind”, “puppy”, “foolish”, “crazy” and “true”…mere adjectives that serve to define the indefinable; explain the self-explanatory and constrain the eternally free. Philia says that we love because we feel the need to be loved in return; Agape says that we love one another through our love for God (an eternal truth); I say that we love because…just because. If we were able to ascertain why we love, then we would, inevitably, be able to control its occurrence, effect and intensity.
      As human beings, forced to co-exist in a world of timeless goods, which we have regrettably allowed to become diluted with ruthless evils, I figure that it is our duty to learn just how to love. We must cease our efforts to control love psychologically and scientifically, for all we are doing is inevitably pushing love further and further away. We must strive to know love, embrace it with our whole selves…our whole hearts and our whole minds. Then and only then will we come to realize the TRUE meaning of LOVE.

© 2001 Avion A. Gray

© 2001 Howard University.
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse and Prose, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2001. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
HOWARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, 500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC 20059.  Phone (202) 806-7234.