Love can never be general or abstract—it is only concrete and particular. What we know of other loves we know by analogy because as a creature I must live in the limits of my love. I cannot love forests in general any more than I can love people in general. As the essayist Charles D’Ambrosio has put it, “If you can love abstractly, you’re only a bad day away from hating abstractly.” For love to work, it must be anchored in the particular or else it is likely to simply float along with the changing currents of emotion.
The deeper my love the more particular it becomes and the more limited in scope. It is only through such particulars that we can come to save the creation. God may love the world, but we live into God’s image by reflecting such love on a proper scale—among particular places and people. We live into our love when we love our neighbors and, thus necessarily, our neighborhood.
—from Ragan Sutterfield, author of the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life