Agape Love

| by Shannon Williams

Greek has many different words for love.

In my professional life, I am blessed to see beautiful examples of phila (brotherly love) every day through our nonprofit partners.

But today, I want to talk about agape—unconditional love.

This month my parents celebrate 50 years of marriage.

As a child, I never thought much about my parents’ marriage. They were just Mom and Dad.

But, as an adult, a wife, and a mother, I now realize the many sacrifices my parents not only made for me, but also for each other. The friends they left behind when they followed my Dad’s job to a new state; the vacations they gave up to care for their aging parents; the times they each took a nap or a walk when they really wanted to do just the opposite.

Unconditional love. At its root it is putting the good of another before oneself. It is not easy. It is not what the world teaches. In fact, it is unusual, perhaps even unnatural, but when you witness it, it is beautiful. I suppose that is why the Greeks gave it a special word.

My life has been shaped by my parents’ agape love for one another. They have given me a standard to strive for in my own marriage. There are times when I have hit the standard and times when I have fallen woefully short, but I know the target. It has been beautifully and humbly demonstrated for me, and 26 years into our marriage, Jeffery and I know we have a responsibility to model for our boys that same agape love. We are trying.

During this time of division in our country, unrest in our cities, and sickness in our communities, it can be easy to be discouraged, but love still wins, and agape love still puts another ahead of oneself. It is something we should all strive for, and it is something to celebrate when we see it.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

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