Love begats love all the more.

26 05 2013

When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one, and it chooses without making anyone else feel excluded.  We touch here a great spiritual mystery:  To be chosen does not mean that others are rejected.”  -Henry J.M. Nouwen

So I am reading the book, Life of the Beloved and this was one quote that I read earlier today.  If you know anything about Nouwen, you’ll notice that I’ve quoted him before, and I doubt this will be the last time I quote him.  I value him as an author, because he makes me think about things.  He makes me think about what I believe and who I believe in, if I believe in this, or if I believe in that.  Right now in my beliefs, I struggle with identifying myself as a particular religion because that’s just where I am and that’s just what I am going through right now.  This is actually a year or longer process, but I am okay in not having a definition of what I believe precisely.  But I’m sure that’s for another day.

I’ve been learning about love lately.  And I have been thinking on quite some pretty significant thoughts lately about love.  And I’d like to share them.  You will probably assume that I’m talking about  a relationship from a particular direction or significance, and while yes, those relationships are particular and significant, that’s not really what I’m talking about here.  I hate that when someone talks about “love” it automatically gives off this idea that I’m talking about a dating relationship.  And while those are important, I don’t feel that this is the time or place to talk about that.  But really, rather, I’m talking about just love in general.

One of the very few things that I believe in is the healing power of relationships.  I believe that many of the problems that people have arise out of the way that they have been loved.  Many times, that love was not enough, or was not shown in such a way that they are sure in their hearts, that they are loved.  Those closest to me know that I have a hard time taking compliments, because I honestly struggle with whether or not I am good enough to receive such a love or compliment.  This stems from a type of emotional abuse I suffered as a child.  I was told that I was unlovable, and that no one would love me.  It is difficult for me to accept and process that love when it is given.  And many times, I simply reject or doubt the validity of the statements made, because I was told that I wasn’t worth it.  The words we say have a huge effect on other people.  I remember the moment when it was first said to me, and my self-image and worth was shattered beyond my understanding.  I am working on that.  I suppose it will be something that I work on for awhile.  Anyways, back to the point….relationships have a whole lot to do with the development of the person.  They do.  Relationships can either affirm that knowledge that you are loved (that you already have in yourself) or they can tear that knowledge down.  Either way, relationships are powerful.  And when the knowledge is ingrained within you that you are not loved is destroyed slowly but surely, by someone who loves you and is patient enough to stay with you to help you see that….there is powerful good to be had there.

When you are aware of how loved you are, there’s something explosive that happens.  When you accept it all, and become suddenly aware of it, where it was stolen from you before, there’s something amazing that happens.  The nature of love is expansive.  The nature of hate is restriction.  When you love someone very deeply, I’ve been told that your capacity to love grows.  That you suddenly have more love to give to those around you.  The thing about love is, when it is there, and fully realized, then you have the capacity for the amount of love you have to explode infinitely.  When you find love, it doesn’t mean that you love others the lesser, but your love for them grows as well.  This is a truth that many of my friends have told me, and over the years, their words echo in my ears…but it’s like I never experienced that before just recently.  It’s like I never understood it.

I don’t feel inclined to give you the specifics of the story, and I doubt you’ll even understand it all.  But as I was reading this particular page in my book, I just couldn’t stop thinking about all of the experiences I’ve had over the last few years.  I’ve fallen in love and fallen out of love.  I’ve loved and had that love die, but then grow and affect me in ways that I could’ve never imagined.  I’ve had love run away.  Love came back.  Other love ended.  I have cried over love.  I’ve also rejoiced in love.  I’ve watched love begin, and I’ve experienced specific days when love was declared.  I have loved in a new way, I’ve seen a new type of love come into my life.  But never, in these experiences of love, have I seen it shrink.  I’ve never seen it diminish or grow faint.  In fact, my capacity for love has grown throughout all this time.  It continues to grow.  Just because I love a new person does not mean that I love other people less, it just means my love inside of me continues to grow.  And trust me, by the end of my teaching career, my capacity for loving people is probably going to be really big, because I have learned to love my students greatly!

But, to echo what I just said, in all seriousness, Just because I love a new person, does not mean that I love others less.  It means quite the opposite.  It does not mean that I reject others.  And it does not mean that others mean less to me, it means that the life I live allows me to continue to love other people more.  I think that this is a really profound truth in my life.  Recently, a few babies have entered my life.  Remember when a baby entered yours.  Just because you loved that baby, does that mean that you love others less?  You loved your spouse less?  You loved your mom and dad less?  Absolutely not.  It means that your love grows and will continue to grow.

The very cool thing about love is that it is in a growing business.  Anytime that “love” is used to restrict or constrain….you can be certain, it is not love, but jealousy or selfishness.  And that is when the word “love” is being abused and misused.  That is when there’s a greater problem within the restricting soul than in the restricted.  You can be certain of that.  Love is continuously growing and evolving and changing.  At sometimes, love is commitment and devotion.  Other times, it’s passion.  Others, sorrow.  There’s joy.  There is support.  The point is, the word “love” has many more connotations than just love itself.  It changes, it grows and it evolves.

That is the love that I know and claim as love.


The Ride Home

23 05 2013

So today, I was driving home.  It’s an hour of a drive for me, and I am running out of things to think about, ha ha.  Not that too many thoughts are in my head normally.  Anyways, so I was driving down the road, and I came across this storm.  And as I plowed through the water, I ended up on the other side.

I was feeling rather sorry for myself while I was driving.  I have days like that.  But when I got through the storm, it was rather weird.

Maybe you have to go through crappy situations and crappy things to really enjoy the life and the happiness in it.  Because after I came out of that storm, came the prettiest afternoon I’ve seen in awhile. 

But the storm I’m in still sucks too.

Good enough?

19 05 2013

Whenever something happens to me, especially if it’s really good, my first response is to be overwhelmed.  Instead of shouting and jumping for joy, I just stutter and stammer through the sentences and through the process of telling others about the good thing that’s happened in my life.  I find it easy to be thankful, but it’s difficult for me to truly feel like I am capable and can do anything.

For example, my friends were over at the house one Thursday night.  And I got a call from the Principal of my High School, offering me that job.  I stuttered and stammered through the entire phone call, and then hung up.  Immediately, I called my best friend, and instead of being so joyous, she noticed that my response was not one of celebration, but of fear and nervousness.  Then I told my mom and dad.  Oh, and I told my friends too.  But I was overwhelmed.  It’s good to be overwhelmed when a good thing has happened, because that generally gives over into a wave of thanksgiving.  But, never in that moment of “hey, I got a job” did I ever stop to think, “Hey! I can do this!”  No, it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago, that I felt like I was in a good spot to realize that I am capable of doing this.

I am currently in a situation where my character and the very core of my being is being tested in ways that I could never have imagined myself being.  This is beyond anything I thought I could ever handle.  And my response recently was just in defeat.  I was already defeated, and not sure if I could handle the situation that I am in.  And then I walked around in my life for a bit, and I realized that I am in the situation I am in for a reason.  There’s got to be some sort of reason for me to be here, and to be in this situation, whether it’s good or its bad.  But the meat of it is that whether I like it or not, I am in it for good.  I can’t cop out, and I can’t drop out.  Well, I could, but then I’d be missing out on an amazing opportunity to do such great good.  So I have to stay and I have to stick right now, wait it out.  See what happens.

I have discovered that the reason that I respond with this sense of overwhelmingness is that somewhere, deep inside me, I struggle with the fact that I think I may not be good enough.  I may not be a good enough of a teacher, I may not be a good enough of a person.  Maybe people don’t actually like me being around.  Maybe I’m not the awesome person that people say I am.  Maybe I’m not good enough.

The root of this, I fear, is something that I can’t change.  It came as the form of words from a maternal figure, and it persists sometimes through another great influence in my life.  One told me that I wasn’t a good enough of a kid, the other tells me I am not a good enough of a “girl,” and that I need to change to be approved.  Unfortunately, I cannot change these perspectives.  I can’t change their minds.  They’re already made up.  One of them is no longer a stable force of my life, the other is too important to me to let go.

I felt defeated in this whole issue.  My head wraps its mind around the fact that I may not be good enough.  Maybe there’s not a good enough personality within me.  Maybe I’m not moral enough.

But today, something really impacted me.  I can do this.  I have done this thus far, and I don’t have any reason to think that anything would change about that.  I can do this.  Maybe I’ll never feel like I’m good enough.  Maybe I’ll always accept these unkind words as truth.  Maybe nothing will ever change about that.  But, it could.  Perhaps recognizing that there is the possibility that I could do something to change myself is just the first step to a very interesting journey.  And then, maybe one day, I will find myself being good enough for my standards.

To You

16 05 2013

To who?  Yes, you!  Wherever you are, and whatever road you’re on in life, this letter is to you! 

Dear you,

Have you forgotten how wonderful you are?  Do you know how special you are?  Do you know how beautiful you are?  If you’ve forgotten, then let me remind you!  You are!  You are!  You are!  You are wonderful because there are things that you do that are good things, you don’t seek to do bad things.  You’re special, because there’s no one in the world that is able to love people the way that you are!  And, you’re beautiful because ugliness is seldom truly found. 

I know it sucks right now.  You’re probably going through something pretty hard.  Maybe you’re just going through the motions with stuff.  Maybe there’s a situation that is really just kicking your butt.  But I believe that you have all the power within the world inside your soul, and you can do it!  There is a force that is standing behind you, rooting you on, and encouraging you every single step of the way.  You’re never alone or far away from that force, and it will continue to push you forward into the next day, because you are so gifted, and you are a great gift to the world around you.

Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that.  I can sometimes hardly believe that of myself, but regardless of where you are in life, you are to be valued.  If you are in a situation where you feel like you’re not valued for the wonderful being you are, then you need to get out of that situation, because another situation is coming.  And that situation will be one where you are appreciated for who you are, and valued for the benefit that you bring. 

You deserve a break today.  Go DO something that makes you happy.  Don’t just be content to veg out on the couch, watching TV, or retreating from the world by getting on the world wide web.  Go DO something.  Ride a bike, read a book, find someone to cuddle with, make dinner, wash your dishes (if you’re OCD like me) or just simply call up a dear friend and laugh about all the days of the past.  Go do something that reminds you that you are important in this world.  Too many times, we spend our days rushing back and forth to work and all of these things we’ve got going on, that we forget to simply cherish the moments and make each moment count. 

Remind me to tell you that you’re wonderful, whenever you need that reminder, and I will.

How will you make each day count?