We are called to love. We all need love and we all want to love.
But sometimes the thought of giving love can be a bit scary. What if the love you send out isn't returned? What if you do more for someone else than they do for you? What if they flat out shun your love? What if they weren't the person they lead you to believe they were? What if they accept your love and then suddenly, take it away? Then what?
The beauty of love is that it is meant to be given liberally, without any strings attached.
You can't make others love you. You can't expect love to be returned. It would be nice, but not always a reality. And what's more, their version of what love is may not match yours. Which is why love, should you choose to bestow it should be unconditional.
What that means is, I will love you no matter what. No matter what kind of day you're having. No matter if your breath smells. No matter if you've hurt me. No matter if we disagree. No matter if you've left the cap off the toothpaste... again. Conditional love is based on terms: I will only love you if you do X, Y & Z. But if you don't, then, I'm off the hook. I don't have to love you.
The downside to this, is many times, the other person doesn't even know what the X, Y & Z conditions are and sometimes we can't even put them into words. We just know when they haven't been met and to "punish" the other person, we can withhold our love... it whatever form that may be.
Loving someone unconditionally doesn't mean that you are required to "put up with" unhealthy behavior. You don't. Let me say that again because it's so important...
You do not have to tolerate poor, or abusive, or unhealthy behavior- ever.
But you can still love them. You can remove yourself from the situation in however many degrees you need to feel comfortable. You don't have to be "with" someone to love them. You can separate from them and still love them.
In the case of a marriage, you can see that things are not "working" and sometimes that leads to divorce. That can still happen and you can still love them.
In the case of family... sometimes you have to put up boundaries to protect your heart and soul or your growth or safety, but you can still love them.
Friendships will come and go as the seasons. People may fade in and fade out. Others may end badly, that doesn't mean you can't still love them.
You get to choose what your love for other people looks like. It's not a one-size-fits-all.
The underlying current of every being is love. We are all searching for it. We all want to feel it. And we all want to give it. It doesn't always show up in passionate, romantic love, it's also small forms of love. That shows up as kindness. Compassion. Empathy. A quiet smile.
Relationships are part of the deal. Some interactions you just want more of. You crave that friendship. You clicked with that human in a romantic way. Your family member is your best friend and confidant.
What keeps those relationships vibrant, is love. Yes, yes, there's more to it than that, but we all know you can only "fake" love for so long. So if the love isn't there, is it really worth pursuing?
Inevitably, sometimes a relationship doesn't turn out as we had hoped. Again, we have no control over what the other person feels and does. And when your passions don't match, it's a painful thing. There could be anger. There could be resentment, betrayal, loss.... It hurts. And it will hurt for a while. Even though you feel, that for your own safety or sanity, you never want to love again, don't let that happen.
You are so much better than the people around you that have chosen to hurt you. And yes, I say chosen because that's what it is... a choice. 1st Corinthians 13:4-7 makes it very clear of what love is, and what it isn't... if you're ever in doubt.
And it is too, a choice if you decide to stay within the relationship, or let it go. Only you can decide that.
Should you chose to go, I hope you can look back and say that you gave love. You showered that person or persons with so much love that when the dust settles they can't help but see it.
Let all things you do be done in love because it's the only thing that really matters. Even in anger, don't let your anger go so far as to step outside of love.
Yes, you can be angry. Raging angry. But it's how you respond... how you react. Don't ever choose hate if you can help it.
It's lonely on the highroad, but love is never wasted. Let it be a sprinkling left behind you that you can look back on and others can see where it leads. Those who need love, just might be looking for you.
You have a purpose and you have a calling. You are called to love. Don't go through life keeping that love all to yourself. No matter the consequences, choose to love.