learning to love

Learning to love.

I love many things.
I love sunsets, the sand between my toes, laughter, mountains views and the sound of waves crashing, to name a few.

I always thought that love was instinctive, everyone just knew how, like loving chocolate. It was that funny feeling in your gut, wanting more or the desire to be near someone
all.
the.
time.

I love people. Actually, I am learning that I am learning to love people. Love is action. Love is complicated. Love is a sacrifice. Love hurts.

 

Love is not instinctive, maybe parts of love or the initial connection, but true love must be learned. It is a discipline that must be learned and practiced. It is much easier to learn if you have love modeled to you as a child. But, we are all broken so we tend to learn the broken model of love that surrounded us. We were made to love. It is our purpose, with out it we are nothing. So, we must journey to learn love.

I learn mostly by trial and error and error and error so my love journey may be longer than most. Also, I tend to dive into the deep end then get creative quick to figure out what I have gotten into. I am not sure if it is courageous or craziness, maybe a healthy bit of both. Either way, it has taken me many places and I have figured out that I can do a lot of things and yet when it comes to love I am reserved. I am neither courageous nor crazy. I guard my heart with a fortress. I know many people and even enjoy many people, but my tendency is to keep a little distance and my little is probably a lot to most. There is a constant small voice telling me how fragile my heart is and to protect it at all costs.

When our first baby came home from the hospital, we were so gentile and careful as if we were carrying around an egg, one wrong move and we were pretty sure we would destroy him. The day of his first bump and he didn’t crack was the day I could stop holding my breath. Resiliency, babies are resilient. I have lived much of my life like my heart is this fragile egg, afraid to love, afraid to let anyone in because it will bump and crack. I am learning that love is more like my tough babies, determinedly resilient.

 

1 Corinthians 13
New International Version (NIV)

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

Like many weddings, the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13) this was read at my wedding. I wanted a love with my husband that always trusts, hopes and perseveres. He remains my best friend because of this foundation. Friendships have taught me that love does not envy, boast or is proud. My children taught me over and over that love is patient and kind at all hours of the day and night. As I battle the world for my children, I know that love always protects.
My dog reminds me that love never fails (you may need to own a labrador to understand the level of loyalty here). With each chapter of life, I learn new lessons on love.

Recently, I am understanding that when you love fully, it will hurt and it is okay to hurt because the healing will follow the hurt. Bones and muscles grow and strengthen under pressure and weaken when not used. My heart, my love needs pressure to grow and strengthen. When love is easy it weakens. With out love I am nothing. I am working on crumbling the fortress around my heart. I am learning to fully love people everywhere.

I am taking steps to dive into the deep end of love whether it be courage or just crazy.