Agápe, Éros, Philía, and Storgē

The Greeks had four different types of love, agápeérosphilía, and storgē. 

  • Agápe – love: brotherly love; unconditional love; good will; loving without wanting anything in return.
  • Éros – love involving sexual passion: relationships; dating or marriage; appreciation of beauty.
  • Philía – love of affection: friendship; loyalty; equality; between two equals.
  • Storgē – Love, affection: especially between parents and children; natural empathy; acceptance.

Why do any of these matter? Well this summer I’m working at a camp where we have “AGAPE” campers. AGAPE campers are people with disabilities – any kind of disability. For example, some have down syndrome, they’re deaf, they’re paralyzed, some have intellectual disabilities, and this list can go on and on. Many of them can’t do a single thing for us. This is why we call them AGAPE campers – because we don’t love them because of how they love us or anything, we love them simply because they are. 

This week I had J, an AGAPE camper with moderate intellectual disabilities, Taybi Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. Last time I mentioned how I was absolutely terrified about having her as a camper. I had no idea how she would act or what I would have to do.

However, by Tuesday I realized how absolutely stupid I was to be terrified of having her as a camper. J was super sweet. Every couple of minutes she would call me fabulous or cute. It was great because originally when she called me fabulous, it sounded more like she was saying “you’re very blessed.” J had the world’s sweetest heart.

My only problem I had at all with J? She apologized for everything. It made me wonder what was said and done to her throughout her life to make her act like that. It’s like she expects me to be mad at her. I hope with all my heart she was not yelled at or abused. I’ve heard horror stories about disabled people being abused or incorrectly treated.

J couldn’t do a thing for me except be. But I love her with all my heart. Maybe this is what true love is. Agápe.


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