I can’t sleep tonight. Oftentimes these days, sleep eludes between 2 a.m and 5 – sometimes I am lucky enough to doze off right before my alarm, but other times…
It’s usually when my mind starts to process. Wander. And tonight was no different. It started with a child’s nightmare at 1:30, followed by a loud sawing of logs on the part of my husband around 2. After trying myriad things, I decided that for once I would simply write down all the things that I ponder, and maybe, just maybe, getting them out will bring the silence I so desperately long for.
Love is so hard to find. Within ourselves, that is. I don’t mean the emotion we have for others, nor the dizzying euphoria of having found that compatible counterpart. But true, authentic, selfless love. The kind the bible talks about – laying down one’s life, and setting aside self. The kind of love that cannot be repaid – sacrifice with no promise, or even expectation, of reciprocation.
The kind of love that nailed Jesus to a tree.
I had a moment recently, and again today, when I was confronted by my inability to give without expectation. It was one of those grounding, confirming, almost time-stopping moments when the truth is so clear that it can only be responded to with a complete a paradigm shift. In my desire to do it “right,” to be a “good Christian,” and to really, save face and look good, I created the very thing I was trying to run away from. As many times as I told myself that my choices were based on being who I wanted to be, I stuffed feelings, thoughts and ideas, and subsequently became the worst version of myself.
Love is authentic. Has no expectation. Never requires reciprocity. Demands authenticity. Screams of sacrifice, while striving for nothing less than absolute freedom.
Sometimes love is vulnerability, regardless of the cost.
Love is transparency, even if it is used against you.
I am so guilty of not loving. Of holding other people to the expectations in my head. I have subconsciously asked others to think like me, respond as I would, and have allowed disillusionment and bitterness to be my response when they haven’t. Worse yet, in an effort to maintain the equilibrium that I insisted on, I refused to put boundaries around myself and caused endless damage. My unexpressed expectations have left a bitter taste in more than one mouth – most notably my own.
So the question is, how do I love better? Jesus died for an entire world with absolutely no return on his investment – am I willing to do the same??
There isn’t a neat bow to put on this one. I think it’s an open-ended conversation that should be had daily, for without such self reflection, I run the risk of never fully being able to experience, and to give, a truly genuine freedom to anyone including myself.
How do you love? Can we as humans ever fully love without any expectations?? More and more, I recognize my depravity, and it always points me back to the cross… And maybe, that’s the point.