Agape Love (Ancient Greek ἀγάπη, agapē) 

Love ~ Charity ~ Empathy ~ Compassion

The summer after graduating from high school, I dated a young woman that I barely knew as a student.


She was radiant with light brown curly hair and a warm, beaming smile. She attended a Lutheran church with a welcoming minister and congregation. She was working with a group home for handicapped adults. 


We talked about ideas and philosophies and plans for the future. Physical contact was mostly in the form of hugs and hand-holding. I was sexually inexperienced and shy and possibly saw her as more angelic than she was.


Her plans were to go to college in Alberta and was honest about not wanting a serious relationship before leaving.


Still, when she left for college I was not ready to let go.


She wrote a beautiful "Dear Greg" letter that quoted the famous 1 Corinthians 13:13 that almost everyone has heard at a wedding at one time or another.


She also said that I was the first time she experienced agape love. 


I must confess that it took me about forty years to appreciate what she wrote.


Here is the experience where I finally understood what she meant.




A friend heaped high praise on a woman I will call 'Mandy' who ran a natural health store. I dropped in and was able to have a long discussion with her about her background. She grew up in the Eastern United States with a world-famous and respected medical doctor as a father.


Mandy was very gifted herself and had earned a scholarship to attend any medical school in the world.


She choose to explore natural health remedies instead and was very clear about what each form of treatment brought to the table.


A young woman I will call 'Jenny' entered the store while we were talking.


Mandy noticed that Jenny was crying and asked her what was wrong.


Jenny tried to brush it off, but Mandy pulled out a stool and had her sit down and tell us about what was going on for her.


She was working through cancer and had recently had a hysterectomy.


Mandy talked with her for quite a while before getting up to close the store, leaving me to talk with Jenny.


For some reason, women often feel comfortable talking with me. I learned that she felt very alone and abandoned. Her family was not there for her. Her boyfriend became distant and would not help with the little things like to going to treatments with her.


She felt broken, incomplete as woman, and alone.


Something came over me and I offered to be there for her in any capacity she needed.


To talk over coffee.


To take her to appointments.


To hold her if that is what she needed. 


For me it was sincere and unconditional.


I never saw Jenny again.


That experience helped me to finally understand better what agape meant and appreciate what my first love was trying to tell me.


I am still learning.


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