I think a lot about love. The greatest commandments we have been given are to love God and to love each other.
So far in life, loving God has been easy. Loving everyone I meet is more challenging.
I only understood unconditional love once I became a mother. I try to liken every other relationship to that. And…our Heavenly Father loves me even more completely and unconditionally than I can even begin to understand! No matter what, He is there for us. He knows us.
I cannot imagine loving anyone as much as I love my daughter. I did not experience unconditional love from my parents. I knew I was missing something, but did not understand until I was a mom. Kids can be exasperating! Babies react to what they are feeling…cold, hot, wet, hungry, alone. They generally let us know what they need by crying until we fix it. As a child grows it’s difficult for all to keep letting go. Here they depended on us for everything, we were just getting the knack of doing everything humanly possible to meet those needs…and now they want us to back off! A two year old prizes the word NO.
They still want to snuggle on their timetable, but if we help put on a shirt or try to thwart something they are bound and determined to do, well…hello temper tantrums and pouting and voiciferous rebellion.
Childhood brings a mix of that and lots of times of pure, sweet, innocent love. Our task as parents is to keep loving, encouraging and supporting that child through thick and thin. Sometimes they will think we are perfect and often they rail against everything imaginable. Both adult and child are learning that we can love each other no matter what…even though there are times we don’t like each other very much.
That’s a lesson each of us humans on earth have to remember every day of our lives. God loves us perfectly. We have to keep striving to be like Him….and it sure isn’t easy!!!!
It’s much easier to love someone who loves you back. It’s easy to like people who like you. But life gets messy. None of us can truly understand what it’s like to be anybody but us. Our bodies have different chemistries. We have had differing amounts of sleep or stress or like a baby, we are still reacting to being hungry or cold or sad or scared. People depend on us and we on them. We depend on other drivers to stay on their side of the road and obey the traffic laws. We depend on the pharmacist to put the right pills in our bottle.
No matter how good the intentions of everyone involved, we all make mistakes. Sometimes they are purely accidents and sometimes they are due to inattention or even some bad stuff happens on purpose. Life gets really, really messy. Most of the time the life dramas of everyone around us are affecting their interactions with us.
When you start thinking about the complexities of each casual or intentional relationship we have with every human we talk to, pass by or meet, it’s mind boggling.
There is a lot we have to agree to and be on the same page about just to drive on the same roads, use buildings or exist as a nation.
More and more I see the world going to an “us and them” mentality. We are becoming polarized. Sides are taken. Each of us believes we are right. Somehow we need to harken back to unconditional love and respect. No two people are EVER going to think alike in all things. That’s reality.
The question becomes how the heck do we all get along??? As the election gets closer I see people spouting pure hate for views other than their own. This is a very scary path to go down. Somehow we all have to be able to discuss what is important in our lives and work toward making this a good world for all. We cannot live successfully in a polarized society.
I don’t know anybody who is perfect. It’s a constant struggle for all of us to find balance, show compassion and live peacefully together. ALL people make mistakes of omission and commission. There seems to be no way around it. Hopefully we learn and grow from these experiences without becoming bitter.
My only solution? Keep trying to find the best in other people. Help rather than hinder. Let in the light. Don’t keep secrets or hold grudges. Live and let live. Truly listen with both ears and heart. Look for common ground. Practice kindness. Wake up and treat each day as a clean slate. It’s way too easy to get bogged down with yesterday. Today is what we have and what we make of it.
Love unconditionally…especially yourself.
After I wrote all that, I looked up unconditional love and found this Excellent example