On the surface math and love wouldn’t seem to mix but if you look at their properties you’ll see there’s a lot of the one in the other.

I never thought of love as a mathematical equation until I went to church. It was there I learned there are equations of love. Not that there is anything equal to love, certainly there isn’t but there are formulas where the great known variable of love plays an integral part. That’s not to say love is an integer, don’t get me wrong. It has an infinite number of gradations. Finally, nothing’s ever existed nor will it ever exist that can be greater than love. Let’s examine some of the mathematics of love.

Love equals love. That may sound a little silly. On the surface it seems like a given like 34 equals 34 but it’s less an equation than it is an extrapolation. If we have love then we get love. If we show love then we see love. If we give love then love comes back to us. This is not wishful thinking or naïve action. It is an equation of infinite and vast quantities because that is how we’re called to love. We’re asked to always insert our love into all things in our lives with the faith that it will come back to us. It will and it will bring about marvelous things if it’s divided.

Love over time (Love/time) equals change. One really big thing (Love) divided by another really big thing (time) has the power to bring about change in anything. Love injected into any situation, any relationship, cannot help but change things. The change can be in the other person, it can be in you or it can be in the relationship the two of you share but change occurs. Granted, the differences may seem small and the pace glacial by our mortal standards. But remember glaciers move at an imperceptible speed yet no one can deny their power and the changes they create. Like a glacier, love is what it is (another equation) and just as you wouldn’t say a glacier is a Ferrari we have things that we equate to love.

Perhaps because love is such a big concept, such a big number if you will (certainly it IS infinity), we’ve sought to equate it to many things. In so doing, we attempt to quantify love. I’ll try to elaborate. We’ve all heard the “love is” equations if we’ve been to a wedding. Love = patience, love = kindness and through the nonequivalence or converse, love = humility (love is not boastful), love = reverent (love does not dishonor others), love = giving (love is not self-seeking) and finally love = success (love never fails). So, that’s a big addition problem: patience + kindness + humility + reverence + giving + success = love. Still, we all inherently know that even all those don’t equal love because neither one thing nor any bunch of things is equal to love. Love is always greater than.

The same book that gave us the addition equation above gives us a greater than formula also. Frankly I’ve always had a problem with greater than, less than, equal to formulas. I never really got them as a kid until I finally figured out that the arrow always just points to the smaller side. That same discussion of love says that love > hope and love > faith. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt hopeless. People like me that struggle with depression know where I’m coming from though when I say there is nothing, absolutely nothing that I can fathom that is greater than hope. Without hope, like the Metallica song says, nothing else matters. So to say love is bigger than that begins to give us an idea of the vastness of this thing called love. And faith? Well, if it’s true that faith can move mountains then I can hardly imagine what the power of love is.

Because love is so big and such an amalgam of other things it can never be an integer (a whole number, either positive or negative). The infinite number of variations and ways in which love reveals itself to us count more in number than the stars. Certainly because it is a phenomenon that us humans display and pass along it is personified in as many unique and beautiful ways as there are people on this planet. It is constant but not a mathematical constant; its variability being both a source of wonder and consternation. Yes, we make our feeble attempts to package it and put a bow on it but in the end those efforts are fruitless.

I credit something equally as vast and powerful with the creation of this thing called love. Perhaps its inventor had a design behind this gift we’ve been given. That’s hardly for me to try and comprehend. The one thing I believe I do understand is that we’re all called to love in as big and as bold a way as we know how.

What that looks like? What that equals? Well I guess that’s one math problem I might never solve.

So, what’s your love equation today? What does it equal in your life? What things in your mind, add up to equal love? I’m interested to know. 



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