The Greatest of These is Love
What is it about our pets that make them so easy to love? My dog smells like a dog. She sheds horribly. She still jumps on guests and barks at deer. But I love her without her ever saying it back.
I’ve had cats before too. They ignore me. They scratch and claw me. Or the furniture. Or each other. They hiss. They don’t smell great. Yet I loved them. And they never said it back either.
Unconditional love seems easy when our expectations are that the other being isn’t capable of loving us in a reciprocal way. I love other people’s kids. They’re cute. I can walk away from their tantrums and not feel guilty. I love my friend with autism. He’s funny and affectionate but his tiring physical care is not my responsibility.
Perhaps I don’t love my pet, other kids, or my friend as deeply as I think. Perhaps I’m feeling a shallow portion of love because I project the notion that I can’t receive any more than that back.
It’s deep and true love that’s frightening. It costs something. It requires a sacrifice on my part. A sacrifice I’m willing to receive but hesitant to give without the assurance of reciprocity. Especially when I think that reciprocity is possible.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
That’s love. It is what we search for in the deepest parts of our soul but it is what we are so hesitant to see or accept when it is right before us.
I don’t know if love between two people can ever be true but I do know that true love is possible because God shows it to me time and time again. It is that love that did cost something for God but is available freely to me. It is hard to accept because it means that it is possible for me to love like that and yet I never measure up.
I do know this: I know that I am called and created to love. And to keep loving others even if it is but a reflection in a mirror with dim lighting.
So love. Love knowing that you are loved beyond measure even if you never say it back.
Until Everyone Hears,