Unconditional Love

8 09 2012

My life lately has been nothing short of disorganized chaos.  So many things are happening all at once, but there’s so much that has happened that I don’t know how to reflect on it.  There’s both good things and more difficult things that have happened.  But, I’ve also been learning a lot.  Despite the intensity of everything that is going on around me, I have been a very dedicated student and have been able to attune my ears to what is going on.  If you’ve been living life or have been exposed to me lately, and you know what’s been going on, I’m sure you’ll be able to piece together the events that have transpired lately to teach me these things.  I’m sure that if you tried, you’d be able to put the puzzle pieces together to see what has been going on, and what circumstances have compelled me to learn.  But, for the sake of privacy, I beg of you not to try to piece together these events, because if you did, that would make these events about me, and that is not the case.  I’m just on the sidelines of some very important stories right now, and I do not wish to become the protagonist in these stories.  I just have some reflections from the sidelines that I think are worth sharing and worth drawing inspiration from.  In addition, I am a great respecter of privacy, because I am an extremely private person, and I simply want to be able to allow these events to remain private and to remain anonymous.  I hope you will respect my wishes here.


I have been learning about unconditional love lately.  I have been learning about it, and have been witnessing it and exhibiting it in my life.  It’s quite exciting, in one regard, to observe moments of it, and to be a part of an exercise in demonstrating that unconditional love.  I have been thrown a lot more than I can handle under pressure lately.  And I am not quilting anyone, because I am partially glad that I have been a part of this moment.  But, the point is, I have been given a lot to handle lately, and I’ve almost cracked under the pressure several times, but I think the only thing that has kept me moving forward in my life has been this entire experience of unconditional love.

What is it?  Dictionary.com defines it as:

 affection with no limits or conditions; complete love.

I really like that.  I’d like to expound on that though.  Unconditional love has no limits.  Meaning the measure of that love is impossible, because if you could measure it, it would be limited.  It’s hard to accurately express and describe the amount of love that you have when you have unconditional love.  Words fail to express it.  I’ve always told people that I love them, but in certain circumstances, I’ve often wished I could say something different than “I love you” because those three words don’t seem to contain all that I feel for them in that situation.  In fact, even if I did find something better to say to someone about my love for them, I would probably realize those words were also inefficient in expressing my affections for them.  I think it’s easy for us to say that our love has no limits.  Remember, when you first fell in love with a person, and it was like they were perfect and the two of you were walking on air, you’re completely infatuated with the person.  And then some small difficulty arises, and just because you hurdled over that difficulty, you can imagine that your love has no limits?  It’s easy to imagine that.  And it is so easy to say that, because you don’t ever imagine what other response you and your loved one would have.  It’s easy to say that love has no limits until you are faced with something that might be a limit, a deal breaker, and then what do you do?  If you have unconditional love, you persevere.

The conditions thing is harder.  Unconditional love has no conditions.  Well duh, that’s why it’s UN-conditional.  That part for me, is not quite so easy.  There’s a part of me that always says “well if he loves me, then he’ll do x exactly this way” or if “she really cares about me, she’ll say y.”  I’ve struggled with learning to not have conditions.  I think it’s part of the control freak in me.  Believe it or not, I used to be a control freak about certain relationships, and it became really unhealthy for me and those relationships.  For some reason, I wanted to control people, and although I realize now, that this wasn’t the response of love, at the time, I thought it was.  Something matured in me and I grew up a little bit, which meant that I began to learn that my control devices were not right.  I began to learn what it was like to love someone and how I needed to change that “love” so that it was more free.  This is something that I still struggle with, and this is something that I am learning.  I am having to practice that in my life right now, with the observations I am making and the experiences that I am undertaking.  To be free of conditions, is to have no expectations or no real set idea of what another person is supposed to do.  To be free of conditions is to realize that the interactions you have with the other person are all a gift, and you don’t get to demand what kind of gift you get from them, you just are given it.

Unconditional love is complete.  From that, I gather that unconditional love has all of the facets of love.  It has care and concern, it has infatuation, commitment, and a little bit of humor.  In that, the love you have from another person, you don’t desire more from them.  You are satisfied with that loved one, the amount of love you give them,and the love that you get from them.  It is complete in that you are secure in that love and you know that it is important, and you know that it is forever, regardless of all things that come at you.  There is dedication and faithfulness that goes beyond all understanding, and you’re special to them.  I don’t know if you have unconditional love without having gone through some pains to demonstrate it, or if it’s just there, and those pains are times of trial that show you that you have this unconditional love.

One thing that church and my friends have always told me is that God’s love for me is unconditional.  That it transcends anything that I can do, and that it is ever-faithful.  I’ve never understood that.  I’ve never quite comprehended this idea that God’s love is unconditional.  The first time I experienced love was undoubtedly from my family.  My family, until I was of school age, was my world.  It is from them, that I learned what love is.  Let me do a disclaimer here:  I love and adore my family very much, and I am so thankful for what they have done for me, and I am ever indebted to them and the ways that they have loved me.  But, my family is very critical of me.  They criticize me, and say things that I need to improve.  Mainly, what I wear or look like.  I know this sounds very shallow, but when you’ve heard nothing but a lifetime of how your family wishes that you were something or someone else, it gets to you.  And the love that I have always experienced has been very critical and “love” lectures or fusses at you for who you’re not, so that you can fit better in to the cookie-cutter mold that you’re supposed to fit into.  Since this is my perception of love, as it has been ingrained in me from a critical family, is it no wonder that I cannot fully comprehend what unconditional love is like?  From my experiences with my family, the unconditional love of “God” tells me that I am not good enough and I need to keep doing good things to show how “good” I am and so that I will be loved by God.  It seems like my family has conditions on receiving their love and being so critical of me and who I am.

It wasn’t until I met my friends that I realized that unconditional love and acceptance is possible!  Lately, I’ve been realizing that the love of God, and the love of my family are two very different things.  And the supposedly “unconditional love” that I have from my family, has those conditions, and I need to realize that this is not so!  This is not the reality of the God that we claim.  This is like an explosion within my soul, and I am learning more and more about that love.

I hope that I will one day be able to show some of these critical family members the kind of love that is from God, but right now, I think that it is best for me to really dive into learning what unconditional love looks like and trying to simply experience that unconditional love.  Not trying to do it better, because I am convinced, that the love I have from God, is already unconditional, and already precedes whatever it is that I feel like I’m supposed to do.  But just learning that I am loved, it’s quite a feat to wrestle with.  To learn that I am loved before I even do anything to try to earn that love.  To be convinced and persuaded that God loves me regardless of what I do, and doesn’t want me to do anything but to know that I am loved.  This is hard for me.  It may not be hard for you, but it is hard for me, because I am so very new at this understanding.  One day, my understanding of the love of God will be more complete, and I will be motivated to do things as a demonstration of my love for God and not to earn love from God.  One day, I hope that I will be able to understand what it means to be unconditionally loved by God.  And then, maybe I’ll be able to demonstrate it to those that I perceive that I don’t have that unconditional love from.

In the words of a favorite North Carolina musician, “How sweet it is to be loved by you!”




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