I am so the sap for love stories. Not just the ones where the guy meets the girl and sweeps her off her feet and they live happily ever after. I love the ones about the lonely old man who finds a friend in the most unexpected place. Or the neglected child who finds family who cherishes him. The two people who despised each other and in some crazy way come to need each other and rely on one another. There are so many forms of loving another person but I find them all marvelously beautiful! They all fall back on one thing and one origin, and that's the love that our Heavenly Father first gave us. That makes love so pure. If He who is the perfect judge can love all of his children, who am I not to do the same? I don't always love the choices people make and to love someone I don't have to agree with everything they do. But without love, I would be easily annoyed, easily offended and easily provoked and I can imagine that would lead to one very miserable me. When you have a real love for people you aren't waiting for them to make their next big mistake. You're waiting for them to excel. And when they do that it is much easier to see their progress and be happy for them. Elbert Hubbard said "Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. The only way to retain love is to give it away." I think that sometimes I have been mistaken in thinking that if I give my love away to someone who doesn't love me in return, then I am foolish and setting myself up to be hurt. But what a waste of time to guard yourself like that. Of course we will be hurt by somebody some day. It's impossible to escape. But there is comfort in knowing you did all you could and gave all you could give. Because that is all we can expect of ourselves. Mother Theresa said "I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." Love changes things and it changes people. The person most profoundly affected by my love is me. Sure I have been hurt, I've been betrayed, I have lost trust in people. But if there is one thing I have learned and never doubted, it is that giving up on the goodness of people hurts you a hundred times more than the people we give up on. We don't have to be best friends with everyone. We should surround ourselves with people that lift us up. But that doesn't mean we can't love. When we give ourselves up to hate it's like imprisoning ourselves willfully. We are more affected by that feeling inside of us than anyone else could possibly be. Christ's light cannot exist in a place where there is hatred and malice. So when we welcome those feeling into our spirits we limit ourselves from Him and the peace that His spirit brings. Our perfect example of love is Christ. He loved perfectly and yet He was rejected, mocked and crucified. And STILL He loves. I will never have to endure the things that He has endured. He has already endured all of my pains, physical and emotional. And still I could only hope to be so forgiving of the petty things in my life. Christ taught us how to do this while delivering His sermon on the mount:
Matthew 5:44 & 45
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven..."
I have so much room for improvement. so much. It seems like I am on the never ending road of bettering myself. I guess that's how it is though. This is one area that will be constant work for me. But it is an area that I so desperately hope to excel in.