September 23, 2011

Love Without Fear

Love is something that is contemplated, dissected, longed for, and feared by people everyday. Four letters arranged in a simple pattern create a word that has captivated the world’s attention since the beginning of time. Yet still not a single person can tell the true definition of love. No one can explain how it happens, why it happens, why it ends, why there are so many sides and colors of love, and why everyone craves for it. There is no lack of theories wafting through the minds of us all by means of infectious thoughts fueled by romances, movies, and the internet. Someone can devote their entire existence to this one concept, this four letter word, and still never fully comprehend it. But my issue is one that thousands face everyday for a variety of reasons: the fear of love.
I’ve been a person scared of love. Not only because it was so lacking in my childhood, but because the relationships I’d built later in life to compensate had ripped me apart in their dismantling causing my heart to turn callous and for me to cringe at the mere mention of the word. It even reached the point I’d banned it from my vocabulary receding within myself when anyone would point the word in my direction and chastising those who used it as if its meaning held no depth. To me love is something to be shared with someone special, to be cherished and constantly renewed. To this day that outlook has not changed, but rather expanded to a comprehension and exploration of the varying sides of love.
While talking to a friend tonight I had an epiphany about the way I react and communicate love to those around me. I asked her a simple question that opened up my eyes to something I had never examined before: Why not? Before I would simply give excuses of all the ways love had hurt me and stripped me of my ability to love, but excuses are just that; excuses. In asking her why not, I was also internally asking myself. And my answer was one that surprised me. It wasn’t the usual, “I loved him and he did this so I can’t love now because I don’t want to go through that again.” but instead it was something deeper. I told myself, “Why not?” Stripped of all my excuses, left to answer to my conscience I was encountered with the reality that there is no reason not to love.
Granted you are stepping out on a very short ledge with both feet when you dare to let your guards down long enough to take a chance on love, but if you have the chance to love and be loved, even if for a little while, why not? Yes, it may end in pain, but I can tell you that loving each person who has entered and then proceeded to leave my life has taught me lessons and given me memories that I’m happy to have in the recesses of my mind. I have been a victim of unrequited love, but am I really a victim when I can say that at least I was brave enough to love in the first place, and strong enough to maintain that love even when it wasn’t returned. Isn’t that what love is in the end? Self sacrifice?
Or perhaps you don’t want to fall in love; then love a friend by doing them a favor without expecting it to be returned. Love a stranger at a gas station by holding the door open for them. Love someone having a bad day by offering a smile. Love someone struggling by lending an ear.
I want to encourage you to take a leap of faith and to love, regardless of the consequences.

I am young, single, never been married, and am not expecting it in the immediate future but I have a prayer even now that when my time comes I won’t hide behind my walls of self-preservation and I fully embrace falling in love and continue to fall in love with that person year after year. I pray that I find new things to fall in love with each passing year and that when life gets hard, when love get hard, those things are what I hold onto the get me through it. That love, that renewal, a fuel that continues to burn under my relationship to keep it from falling into just another statistic, and I maintain faith.

God has given us a magnificent gift through the act of love. God communicates love to us each and everyday, so why then are we so shy to distribute it back to the people we come in contact with? Are we so greedy for this one thing that we soak up every ounce we are lucky to receive and hold it deep within us as to keep ourselves feeling loved? What about those who feel no love, who ignore the love of God and go through life feeling unloved and ultimately unlovable? You don’t have to devote your life to someone to love them; you simple have to take a step of kindness and humility. God gives us this gift to spread to others, so take a chance and ask yourself, “Why not?”.

No comments:

Post a Comment