Sometimes, it is not so easy to love.
I’m sticking with this topic of loving people– it’s something I think about often, so I’m sure this won’t be the last post on the matter. Last time, I encouraged you to make someone’s day, giving extra credit to those who give without merit, expecting nothing back.
This kind of giving sounds nice in theory, but it can be a lot harder to put this giving into practice. And if you sit down and think about it, loving this way may not even make sense.
More commonly, it could seem unwarranted or random—like helping a complete stranger. Or it might be awkwardly uncomfortable like helping someone you used to date or who smells really bad. Or it can just be really inconvenient, particularly when you have plans that you aren’t trying to adjust.
Additionally, I consider people who are in situations where it may be especially challenging to love. I wonder about those who are positioned to love someone who may seem impossible to love, without any promise of reciprocity, without any tangible return, without any display of gratefulness.
I’m thinking about people who are so physically or mentally disabled that they are a danger to themselves and others, and yet someone takes care of them faithfully. I’m thinking about the poor mother standing on the street corner asking for food, and someone generously gives a bag of groceries. I’m thinking about people who commit heinous crimes, and someone still says to them, “we’re family.”
These are random examples, and I admit, it’s a bit much to compare the criminal with the impoverished and disabled. I do it though because I see a common denominator. In any of these situations, we may or may not lean into the discomfort and love somebody who doesn’t deserve it and/or won’t reciprocate it. And we make these decisions all the time, justifying our decisions based on our own individual needs, interests, and preferences over others.
And don’t get me wrong– I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to consider yourself. I’m just wondering how often we consider others and do the good deeds i.e. love people, particularly if we may not receive anything for it.
As I see it, most folks are not radically choosing the roads less traveled. Most folks are not nominating themselves to love the unlovable people. Most folks are not trying to sacrifice their limited time, money, and energy for someone else who can’t make it worth their while.
And if you’re one of those folks, I’m not judging you or holding it against you.
I wonder openly about these things knowing that it is not so easy to love me. Really, one of the main things that motivates me to love others is that I have experienced this kind of love when I neither deserved it nor reciprocated it. I don’t know about you, but it was also in some of those experiences that I needed love most. And I am certain, it was not easy. It was random, awkward, inconvenient, and uncomfortable, and folks still came through.
Knowing that has made it easier to love when it is not so easy.
As was aforementioned, this won’t be the last time I mention something about love. I hope the next time you have the inconvenient opportunity to love someone, you’ll at least think twice about how someone has been there for you and just maybe you’ll decide to be there for someone else. And if you have no examples of someone being there for you, I hope and pray you’ll experience that unmerited, unconditional, not-so-easy love.
It’s quite possibly one of the best things ever.
Love Love Love,