In an interview of actor and entertainer John Travolta in the Parade Magazine (22 Oct 1995), John talks about the importance of love. ’I love people and I have compassion and empathy for them, and I am alive to a degree that I do that. But loosing people is tough because I don’t want to loose them. For a long time I decided not to give my heart again, but I decided that I couldn’t live that way anymore.’
Travolta has learned something extremely important about the nature of life and love, that you can’t have the former without the later. He also discovered that love is a decision. He said of life without love and commitment: ’I decided that I couldn’t love that way anymore.’ He decided to love and to be loved, which means that he found that love assumes the form of decision and not just a feeling.
The actor came to the truth that love remains the underlying imperative of life. Travolta concludes this interview with the observation about the inherent risk we expose ourselves to when we decide to love others. ‘I have lost many people that I love but I guess that I have leaned that when it comes to loving people you don’t really have a choice.’
Jesus knew the risk he was taking in his decision to love the world; it would lead to betrayal, disappointment and death. As the cross loomed ever closer, he knew that he must soon leave those he loved most on this earth. ’Where I am going, you cannot come,’ he told them.
Being bodily separated from his disciples, even for a relatively short time, must have been extremely painful to him, but it was the price that love demanded. All of these observations militate against the common connections about the nature of love, that love is easy, automatic and natural. Love, particularly the kind of love that God demonstrates in Jesus, remains the most difficult thing we are called to do, but it is the only thing that makes life existence meaningful.
Rev Samata Elia