Love is a remarkable word that stands for even more remarkable phenomenon.
There are many different words in the Icelandic languish to express love, depending on whom and what we are expressing.
If I wanted to express love for God I would use the word kærleikur, which has a deeper meaning than ordinary love. If it was love for my husband I wanted to express I would use the word ást and ástfangin, which means love and being caught in love, in ást there would be more hormone activity than in the other words. For my children I would say elska, because I elska them, I would not use the word everywhere and at every occasion, telling them I love them would be somewhat a sacred moment. I could also use the word elska to my friends.
But if I wanted to express my admiration for shoos I would just say they were flott, meaning they are great or beautiful.
In the English languish I have only this one word, love, so I express my love for shoos with the same word as for God. I could of course talk about divine love when expressing love for God, and thus make a more meaningful expression. But still it is this word love I use.
Icelanders use the word love seldom and carefully, feel maybe little silly saying those words, “I love you”. In American movies we see them used frequently; people say “I love you” to each other all the time and at the most unlikely occasions.
But this was about the word itself, so what meaning do we normally have of these words? What do they express? What feelings lie behind them?
We talk about love of parents, spouses and children and we are filled with pride at the thought of our love for them. Love of God is said to be noble. Mother’s love is considered the most beautiful love of all times, unconditional love.
In the Icelandic Dictionary from Edda 2002, the word is defined as charity, and when I look up the word charity I get the answer, love, deep friendship.
But is love charity and charity deep friendship?
What does the word love stand for, seriously, not just a touching idea, but really? What meaning lies behind this word? I see this concept as follows:
There are two kinds of love. No love and absolute love.
No love is like a narrow line. As long as we stay on the line we are loved. This also applies for our love for others.
If we, however, step out of the line, the love is lost and this applies both to the love we receive and the love we give to our spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends.
Many of us find it difficult to follow the given lines. And all of us will at one time or another stumble out of the line. That is why we are without love.
For no love is the love we have and are able to give.
Absolute love is however like a wide road. So wide it has no boundaries. We can roll, jump and dance freely on it and although we stumble, it is fine. The road is wide enough to carry it. We cannot stumble out of it.
This is the love we desire and are unable to give.
You do not have to agree with me but it changes little about what love is.
You do not have to agree with me but it changes little about what love is. Love is like other things that are true in life, it either is or is not. That is just how it is.