February 04, 2019

Is It Lust or Love?

“Who’s the girl?”

Rick smiled uneasily and looked down at his feet. How did he know I have a girlfriend?

His mind swept over the events of his senior year. Rosalinda—yearning to be near her. He was tempted to skip college and just get married. Rick felt a rush of emotion. He looked bashfully at Micah.

“Rosalinda...  Her name is Rosalinda Santiago Munoz.”

Micah knew who she was—shy, petite, very pretty, with almost jet black hair and lovely brown eyes. Like Micah and Rick, she was a member of the Catholic Church in town. Rick had almost stammered when mentioning her name. Micah looked again at Rick.

“Are you in love?”

Rick thought for a moment. “We are very much in love,” he said with a little smile.

Micah gently prodded his young companion. “Are you sure it’s not just lust?”

“No, no,” Rick said defensively. “We’ve been in love a long time.”

Micah’s eyes wandered over the beams of the barn, the bales of dusty hay, and then at Rick.

“Do you know the difference between lust and love?”

Rick was embarrassed by the question. His cheeks colored a bit.

“Lust is sex, love is—more.”

Micah looked away again at the gray-and-brown landscape around his farm. “It’s important you know the difference, Rick. Lust is temporary. Love is forever.”

Rick shifted his weight uneasily on the bale. No one had ever challenged him to explain his love for Rosalinda. Micah paused for a moment and then quietly began to describe his convictions.

“Lust is a natural physical reaction to a contact we have made with another human. The excitement, passion, and exhilaration we feel comes from deep within our physical being. Lust is the powerful inner energy that brings humans together for procreation. The problem is that we often confuse our natural physical reaction to someone with our equally natural desire to love, and be loved, in a physical way. But while lust is a physical reaction that stimulates our mind into action, love is an emotional reaction with far-reaching spiritual implications.”

Micah paused. Rick looked a bit confused, as though trying to sort out his feelings for Rosalinda. Micah smiled gently at his companion.

“Think of it this way: Lust is the way our body stimulates us into action. But although the excitement of the activity may linger in our mind, lust is a physical thing. Love, on the other hand, is more closely aligned with long-term relationships. It is the feeling of friendship. Those we love, we trust. We view them as companions with whom we can share our thoughts and dreams without fear of ridicule.”

Micah paused again to organize his thoughts.

“When we lust for someone, it is usually a selfish act. We want to satisfy our physical need. The other person is an object to satisfy our physical desire. Love, by contrast, is an expression of giving—as well as receiving. Our need for love is fulfilled by making someone more content with our relationship. We want them to trust us. Be our companion. Share our thoughts. Engage with us on a spiritual level. That means true love is a commitment that lasts for a very long time, and it does not require us to perform a physical act. Remember, Jesus loved those with whom he traveled and the people who came to visit with him. Those relationships were spiritual in nature. He welcomed them as companions and friends.”

Rick looked down at the floor of the barn, deep in thought. He appeared to understand Micah’s words. The old man carefully slid off the bales and dropped onto the barn floor. He looked up at Rick.

“Well, Rick, is it lust or love you feel for Rosalinda?”

Rick looked intently at Micah. Slowly, solemnly, he said, “Both.”

“Good answer,” Micah responded with a gentle smile. “A very honest answer.”

From - The Angels’ Footpath.

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