Saturday, November 17, 2012

For the love or money.

Choosing money or love has been a perpetual theme throughout human history. The presumption of the former choice is that if you have money, love will follow. A rare few ever realize the fallacy of that presumption. I’m thankful that I am one of those. I can say that only because I have lived through both times of abundant wealth and grinding poverty, and have been fortunate enough to also experience true love.

In 1964 Paul McCartney captured that truth when he wrote, and the Beatles recorded, “Can’t Buy Me Love.”  That year the recording hit #1 on the top 100, and stayed there for five consecutive weeks. It was exceeded only by “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (at seven weeks) and “Hey Jude” at nine weeks. To date, according to Rolling Stone Magazine “Can't Buy Me Love” ranks #289 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. When interviewed McCartney said: “The idea behind it was that all these material possessions are all very well, but they won’t buy me what I really want.”

The significance of that popularity is a reflection of what I and everyone else wants: to truly love and to be truly loved—the rarest of all treasures that no amount of money can ever buy. Before you go to sleep at night when you lie in bed next to someone you love deeply and who feels the same toward you, then only do you know what counts and it isn’t money.

In our world today that truth seems to get lost beneath the rush to make and hold onto money. Might that choice be due to the thought that nobody really believes that true love is within their realm of possibility? I don’t know but I do know that when true love comes your way you’ll do virtually anything to cherish and hold on. Money will come and go, as everything else does but when love comes your way, if it is true, it will last forever and warm your soul in ways that nothing else does. And then you’ll learn something else extraordinarily important: love coming your way is the result of love going out of you to another.

It’s the greatest of all feedback loops—What goes out comes around: a truth of the Buddha as well as Jesus. If you want to boil the essence of the New Testament down to a single statement, it would be this: agape love. To the ancient Greeks, this form of love could only come from God since it is pure, eternal and the secret to all happiness. “Agape Love” occurs only in the New Testament and in essence means love beyond conditions, in other words unconditional: no strings attached and the proof of this kind of love is that it lasts. Money blows away with the wind but true love is eternal.
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