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.

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