At the start, before everything, at the very start - there needs to be love. Love doesn't have to come after understanding, love doesn't have to follow knowing, getting, grasping, likeing, wanting - any other verb- Love is the start.
And yet more often than not we bypass love to move on to those things that are easier. We move on to expressions of love rather than love, we hold on to emotional responses rather than love. Rationality, logic, understanding a 'desire' to 'help out' can all oddly enough be enemies of love - and yet for me, and I suspect for most of us, these things come easier than the root.
It's easier but ultimately not sustainable to love after any of these other things - I think at least.
Caring and 'getting along', initially pose as love's co-pilots - so it's rare when we have these two that we stop to question if we really can love one another. We think that these will steer us into love, but more often than not they just 'exist' in a blahze sort of manner - in a ditch like-stagnancy that does little more than allow us to float our dingy on.
We, as relational beings, crave this love. And it is phenomal the ammount of hurt we will cause to get it. It is this love that we need in a community context, this base level of love - not neccessarily understanding, just plain 'ol love; yet it is this love that we at times seem to do everything to avoid. We dodge in word, action, thought, mis-action, lies. In the course of two months, I have had a bit of an outsiders perspective in seeing a group of people dodge this love in truly original ways.
Much of our failings at this really cannot be solely pegged on 'us' per say. Everything wrong with creation does truly pull us from knowing this kind of love. Suspician, hurt, real tragedy, mis-understanding; the cards are not often stacked in our favour. We are almost "too big," too dramatic for having this responsibilty of love.
One of the mysterious elements to this pursuit is that; wrapping our heads around what it means to love, understanding how we show it etc. should not actually be our primary focus. The most challenging thing about this kind of love is that it is both passionate and patient - it cannot be self-driven and it cannot be bastardized by contrived expressions.
It is such a process of radical confidence in the source of such love, and such a rigorous (for me at least) reduction of anything else, that I think this kind of love is probably what part if not all of this life is all about.