15 June 2011

In Love with It All

I don't know how the word "love" has been ruined over the course of the last few thousand years, but it's quite a shame that it has.  It's now somewhat unacceptable for people to tell each other that they love one another unless they happen to be in the same family or bound together by deep feelings.  It's impossible for people to tell other people that they love them in most circumstances--in fact, I would hazard a guess that most people don't even consider the question of whether they truly love their co-workers, people they know socially, their teachers or students, their friends.

But love is a marvelous word that holds very special meaning.  It doesn't necessarily carry the sexual implications that we tend to associate with it, and it doesn't mean that someone is going to make us awkward when they love us but we don't "love" them back.  Love simply means love--and we can say without hesitation that God loves us, but heaven help me if I say that I love someone I work with or someone who isn't a spouse or a family member.  The word then carries a lot of awkwardness and becomes problematic, even if it isn't being used in its true sense at all.  It would be nice first of all if we could truly explore the possibility that we love people we know, and it would also be nice if we could share our feelings of love without worrying about how someone's going to react, or what kinds of problems we could create simply by telling someone we love them.

Love is supposed to be universal, and it's supposed to be unconditional.  I should be able to love the cashier at the supermarket as much as I love someone closer to me, without all the innuendo or hidden assumptions of what comes with love.  I should be able to love a man as much as I love a woman--and I can love my brother or father--but because most people associate love with sex, they start to see other problems in a declaration of love for a friend or associate who happens to be of the same gender.

Free yourself for love's sake.  Our task on this earth is to love, and that doesn't mean just your partner or just your family members.  Love all that you can.  It may be in your best interests not to tell everyone you love that you love them--you'll probably avoid a lot of misunderstandings if you refrain from doing so--but that shouldn't keep you from recognizing the love and choosing your actions and words from a loving place rather than from a neutral place.  And when we can treat others from the loving parts of our hearts, then their lives will benefit from receiving unconditional love that places no expectations on them.  And when we can contribute in a positive way to other people's lives, then we're making the world a better place, aren't we?

A life of love is difficult, but it is not a bleak or unrewarding life.  In fact,
it is the only true human and happy life, for it is filled with concerns
that are as deep as life, as wide as the whole world, and as far reaching
as eternity.  It is only when we have consented to love, and have agreed
to forget ourselves, that we can find our fulfillment.  This fulfillment
will come unperceived and mysterious like the grace of God, but we
will recognize it and it will be recognized in us.

John Powell

No comments:

Post a Comment