As individuals, we long for it. As human beings, we crave it and in fact we cannot live without it for long. As a culture, we obsess on it.
We have a communal dialogue about it incessantly, through books, movies and talk shows. We reduce ourselves to voyeurs and stare in hungry fascination (and judgement) at the latest bachelor or bachelorette reality TV show, compartmentalizing our minds into areas of fantasy so that tomorrow, as we head out to face the world, it will seem less lonely. Many of us are frightened of love, with all of it’s complexities, so we trivialize it and turn our longing into a fantasy obsession of romance.
And yet, after giving it so much of our valuable attention, still, we find true love illusive. We discover that our desire to lock love in and guarantee it’s presence is like trying to hold mist in our hands, which we keep trying to do in the hopes we will catch a cloud and pin it down.
Is it because love seems so big that we feel the need to reduce it to platitudes? As adults, we pray for love, we negotiate for love, sometimes we beg for love, but when the opportunity to love is finally offered, often, we see it as something else.
Often, we see it as a burden.
We’ve heard it before: Love is patient. Love is kind. But if love is anything, it is much more than an aphorism. Getting into the nitty gritty of what we all long for, love is a fruit that tastes both bitter and sweet. It is tough to swallow and it is exquisitely satiating. And love is the only thing that can save us.
Love is a willingness to stand in the fire of life and not shrink back: it’s standing by your teenage child’s side as they fumble their way through an addiction, or when they come out as gay; it’s not running away when your spouse has a severe form of cancer and you must be the primary caregiver, even though the marriage has been on the rocks for years; it’s expecting that children who cross our borders alone and scared and hungry must be cared for as the first priority, with the second being our ability to solve the issue of where they will end up.
And, it turns out, if you are out of integrity in any areas of your life with regard to love, then it will bleed over into every other area of your life. Because love is something that comes from within, it’s a perspective and an action, and if we are off base with our perspective, then that perspective gets carried with us where ever we go, and we project it out onto every situation and person we come across.
In order for us to truly fulfill our desire for love, we must let it awaken inside of us. We must become that which we desire to experience in the world, we must source love first from within. And yet, this seems unreachable to many of us.
But is it? If you are hungry for love consider small steps. Wade your way gently into the deep waters of love. As I mused in a recent post, one small step is to stop the violence within.
Love is so messy, and sometimes dark, and always it makes us feel more alive when we are in it. Being loving is not all chocolates and roses. It’s about duality, pain and pleasure, confusion and understanding. It’s about sitting in the not-knowing, the mystery, and allowing your heart to stay open to the highest possibilities.
Love is mercurial by nature because love is about being present, being with what is. And that, for many of us, is excruciating. We ask for love, but when we are given broken people to help, we judge their faults and wonder why God doesn’t give us what we have been praying for.
If we can help others with whom we have little or no attachment or promise of benefit, or with the people we think are throw aways, then imagine how it can help us when we do find our soul mate.
Your ability to develop and offer a more sophisticated level of love to the world around you creates a richer and more fertile soil within yourself. This allows intimate relationships to flourish. Then, it’s jackpot when you meet your Mr. or Mrs. Right.