A topic often discussed and a word egregiously overused is love. All else seemingly revolves around the desire for and pursuit of it, yet many who have it fail to even realize it is there. How does this happen?
I think it happens for two primary reasons. 1. We over-associate it with feelings, and 2. We are deeply confused by its meaning as a result of experience.
So many of us spend years of our lives having to learn that what was presented as love to us was not love at all. We must learn so many things that it is NOT before we can begin to develop an understanding of what it is…
Be careful, so careful, when speaking the words, “I love you.” There is cruelty in speaking these words if they are contradicted with demeaning insults and hateful acts of violence. Research indicates it is far more emotionally damaging to young children when they are exposed to inconsistencies that confuse the mind and betray the heart.
Not knowing when it is safe to trust teaches a child that it is never safe to trust. This potentially has profound ramifications as we see that trust and faith are intricately linked…
This life, so precious and fragile, is not to be handled with reckless abandon nor met with apathy and weak commitment. Life is a big deal. This is where we learn the significance of every breath, of every being, of every moment. When we realize the interconnectedness of all and the far-reaching consequences of each choice, we might be ready to understand why genuine love is essential.
If we do not learn what love is and commit to honoring one another, we will fail to live out the purpose for which we were created.
I pulled out my Bible after a long, trying afternoon and turned to 1 Corinthians 13. Once again I find these words, penned so long ago yet ringing as clear and true as ever in my soul, “Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, Does not behave unseemly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”
As my eyes fell on the first phrase, my southern self said, “ain’t it the truth!” Love, indeed, suffers long…Without love, there would be less suffering because without love we cease to care. I would say, without love and care, we cease to truly live. At some point in this life, we must determine to live lovingly, to honor what is good and right and true and to let patience have her perfect work in us. When I suffer, I trust there will be joy on the other side of the struggle because I’ve grown willing to learn the lessons it teaches.
Oh, how much I’ve learned to let go of in recent years. I do not have time or energy to waste on what doesn’t matter because there is far too much in this world that does.
May the kindness of our lives teach those in our care the true meaning of love so that trust and faith can build a firm foundation upon which they can stand, now and always…