Sunday, May 21, 2006

Love

Today's homily was about love. In the past year, I have learned a great deal about what love means. I know about the love a mother has for her child. That is an instinctive love for most. But otherwise, I am just now learning about loving others and what it entails.
I grew up in a family that I wouldn't say was stingy about love, but it was not actively shown. We never said "I love you." I know that may sound strange to others, but it was to be understood through actions and not words. Today Father Phan said that people can show love either by words or actions, but it should be shown to those that need to know it. I grew up with some resentment in my family because perhaps I didn't understand love. I resented them for not always being at band concerts or supporting me like other parents did their kids. I realize now that they did indeed love me despite their own imperfections.
I thought perhaps because of my upbringing that I might be incapable of really loving someone because although I did learn to say "I love you" to people other than my family, I still always seemed to have relationship problems. I know that I did play a part in many issues, but there's always two sides to every story.
In the homily today, Father gave the definition of love being "sincere concern for the well being of another." I think for the first time in my life I am capable of loving others. I wrote a post about forgiveness and I think that it really goes hand in hand with love. Without the ability to love, you cannot forgive. I came to a point with my ex-husband after our divorce that I had to forgive him. I wrote him a letter apologizing for the hurts I caused in our marriage and told him that despite everything that I appreciated having him in my life. It made a huge difference in things and we are now friends. I understood what forgiveness could do.
Now I'm learning that love is really a matter of being unselfish. This something that is quite a blow for me because although I hate admitting it, I have been very selfish when it came to relationships. I was in my marriage and I certainly was in my last relationship with Marty. Although I know that I had love for him, I think I didn't really love him the way I should have. I would get upset when things didn't go the way I planned or if he did something that upset me. There were many times that I look back (hindsight is always 20-20) and realize how selfish I was. He was going through so many things and I should have simply done what I could for his benefit rather than my whims. Now, I'm not saying that I was to blame for the breakup, he had his own issues to deal with. He too, didn't love me in the way that he could have. So now I accept that it wasn't meant to be for us. But the great thing is that it was our relationship that brought me in to the Church.
I am almost in a state where I am reprogramming my mind. I am learning to not have a selfish attitude. (Though I am still working on that matter.) I am learning to love others although they may be people that have hurt me or those that I don't particularly like. I have student that tends to drive me crazy in class. I find myself praying for him quite often. I pray for Marty on almost a daily basis.
It boils down to the fact that real love takes effort. It's not that happy-go-lucky feeling that happens in the beginning of relationships. It is something much deeper and if it's real, it lasts. Some things that Father Phan mentioned in his homily struck home. First, we have to realize that love is the measure of where we are in being in a state of grace. Having love for all people, even our enemies means that we are living the way that God expects of us. When we have hatred for others, we are missing the target.
Without love, we are nothing. Our love of our neighbor is what leads us to God. We should remember that it takes just as much energy to hold grudges as it does to love. We are better off simply loving as much as it may seem to hurt us in a moment. The thing is that moments pass, life goes on and we are so much better when we love rather than harbor ill will. As Christ commands, "Love one another as I have loved you." How many of us can honestly say that we have lived up to that standard?

1 comment:

Greg Long said...

"Narrator: Affection for family and friends, sexual love, these Lewis defined much as Freud would have. Then he added a fourth category — love of God.

C S Lewis: Divine gift love in a man enables him to love what is not naturally lovable — lepers, criminals, enemies, morons."

Take a look at "The Four Loves"