Don’t quote me on this, but I’ve heard that within the Japanese language there is no word for love. They have words for respect and admiration and even extreme like, but no word with a direct literal meaning of love.
This is interesting to me (and you, my one Japanese reader), because we know that love is inexpressible. Unlike my mustard calligraphy above, love is not so easily spelled out. By the way, for my non-Japanese reading readers, the word in mustard is the Japanese for sandwich. And yes, I misspelled it. According to my friend Shin, I missed a character in the middle. Funny…like an incomplete sandwich.
But you were probably wondering why a sandwich is love and why love is a sandwich. You’re probably thinking lunch is a sandwich, not love. Love is love, unless you’re really hungry, and then you might embrace a sandwich like a long lost lover. That’s what you’re probably thinking. That’s what I was thinking. If we just thought of it that way, we’d be right, but we wouldn’t be very philosophical.
Let’s consider how we make a sandwich: we build it.
So the Japanese language isn’t necessarily incomplete with its lack of the word love, is it? Since love is built, we could possibly start with admiration, and advance from there to respect. These are only concepts though. Love can’t be given in words alone, like a sandwich can’t be made with bread alone.
Love has to be shown through actions. At least in my philosophy, that’s how it works. You could tell someone you love them their whole life, but if you never did anything to show it, would the words even be true? Isn’t compassionate service is one of the highest functions of love? For love to be complete, like a sandwich, you have to put all those layers together, put it on a plate, and serve it.
Oh yeah, and add a little cheese. 🙂