Love AFTER Valentine's Day
As we wrap up another Valentine’s Day, I am want to ask you:
What does love really mean to you every other day of the year?
Is your love limited to the romantic kind, or are you basking in the richness of love that can be found within and all around us?
Some of you know that I had a unique honor to work with a friend of mine, late Fr. Dick Mauthe, on composing his last sermon, “Once in Love, Always in Love.” It’s a story of inclusivity, spiritual quest, and one man’s journey to right the wrongs in the world.
It’s also about love.
[For your own copy, head over to Amazon or write back.]
Meanwhile, I wanted to tell you what I learned about love.
Also, ask you some questions.
What I learned about love is that it is not a one-time thing, but a forever thing.
We don’t love someone or something and then, at the flick of a switch, we no longer do. Sure, many relationships will inevitably end, as will our devotion to a particular cause or interest, but once we give our love, can we ever really take it back?
Nothing can take away what we have freely given to each other—the experience of life we have shared.
Besides, If we can take it back, how strong was our commitment in the first place?
The experience might have been hurtful, but it taught us a valuable lesson. Isn’t this why the end of a relationship, even when it is the “right thing,” almost always hurts?
Sure, some people have said, “I realized I never loved them.” This is possible.
Love is so much more than those three words, or the infatuation that engulfs many romantic relationships. Don’t mistake love for a placeholder.
True love isn’t the bright flames, but the amber that lasts—and, if played with, burns greatly.
This isn’t only about relationships. It is much the same in the matters of work, hobbies, or how we spend time.
We all know people who clearly love what they do, just like we know people who only do because they feel they cannot have what they love.
As humans, we are on a quest to have the experience of life, and often seek to do so through love. Indeed, love—along with gratitude—is a good way to do it. It makes us feel alive.
Yet, so many of us limit this experience to a romantic bond between two people; or, even worse, we believe that the infatuation is the deep love we are seeking.
Similarly, we forget that love extends to all areas of our human experience—including the time we spend alone. Consequently, we don’t embrace love as a way of life, but an occasional source of reprieve, a bonus to a struggling human experience—if we are lucky.
This brings me to another lesson about love: We love as a reflection of our deepest, most profound human drive.
It is this drive, if harnessed, that can give us the ultimate experience of life.
And how do we harness it?
By loving … our experiences, the people around us, our work, and the life itself.
No, that doesn’t mean we agree with all of it, or that we enjoy every bit of it. But when we love, we are willing to do what it takes to accept, learn, achieve, better ourselves, and change.
We cannot love ourselves if we hate the experiences we have.
Likewise, if we cannot love ourselves, how can we love somebody or something else?
And so, as you've celebrated love with your partner (something you should do more often than once a year!), or your family, or even wondered why you were "alone for yet another Valentine’s day” (you were not, you had yourself!), here are some questions to get you thinking about creating the life you love:
- What is love—a state of infatuated adrenalin, a burning fire, or fire’s amber that warms everything up?
- What does your love encompass? Is it only romantic and familial, or can you be in love with more? Is it fleeting and temporary or unconditional and everlasting?
- Who and what are you truly in love with?
- Are you loving only because you want your love returned?
- Are there areas of your life to which you might offer more love?
- What about loving yourself? How good are you to you?
- What have you given yourself to, in love, unconditionally? What about others?
- Are you in love with life? IF no, why not?
And, one final question: What would it take for you to fall in love with life, so madly, that your entire journey is reflective of it—your relationships, your interactions with others, the work and the causes you’re devoted to, and how you spend your time—so that, at the end of your life, you’re empty of any possibility?
Hope you enjoyed some sweets yesterday and took loving care of yourself, and others. Hope you do so today, too!
I love you!
P.S. Please forward this email to anyone who might need some love today!