The search for love and meaning

There is the poetry, philosophy, art, and music of love. There are the definitions we can find in any dictionary: "strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties ... warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion...." There are even the latest biochemical theories, as Time magazine recently pointed out, where "the mapping of our finer feelings to neurotransmitters and other chemicals proceeds apace" ("Science, God and Man," December 28, 1992). And, as the Time article continues, "Love itself—the love of mother for child, husband for wife, sibling for sibling—may boil down, in large part, to a chemical called oxytocin."

Yet the inherent yearning in the human heart to know and express "real love" isn't finally satisfied by human definitions, theories, or chemistry. There's something in us that says love must be so much more substantial, more valuable, more powerful, than anything material. After all, we've seen what the best of love can accomplish. It's right there at the center of human history and progress—overcoming and triumphing against all odds. It's the thing that makes all the difference for a society, for families, for individual lives. Without love, the structure of society erodes and falls apart. Without love, families lose their very purpose and meaning. Without love, individual lives wither and dry up.

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