"love, I made it mine
I made it small,
I made it blind.
I followed hard,
only to find...
it wasn't love...
it wasn't love..."
I love this lyric from Sara Groves' "Love." It speaks to how often I have walked around thinking that I was holding onto love as something I owned, only to discover that what I was holding on to so possessively -- wasn't love at all.
For love to be holdable, it has to be small enough to fit in your hand, your heart, your home. Anything you can possess, hold, or own is too small to be love -- since Love is infinite, eternal, the All-in-all.
Love isn't isolated, or isolatable. And because Love is infinite, it must exist everywhere -- it must be universal. Trying to possess love, is like trying to grasp a drop of water with your hand, while swimming in a river.
Love is alive. It is a moving current of selfless being. It is never in static or inert. And it is ever-surrendering the boundaries of its form to expand and include more.
For decades I tried to own love. I wanted to be sure that the love I thought was mine -- was mine, and no one else's. I wanted to be certain of it. I needed constant assurance that it hadn't slipped through my fingers. I thought that holding onto "my love," was absolutely crucial to my sense of security and peace.
But that desire to own love -- to possess it forever, reduced love to something that no longer resembled real love at all.
John says that,
"There is no fear in love..."
And yet, I was always afraid. I was afraid that the "love" I thought was mine, was fragile, vulnerable, fleeting. I worried every day -- with very little time off for good behavior -- that I needed to protect my love, to hang on to it, watch it, isolate it from infiltration.
The real childlike love that had once lived, and danced in me -- with abandon -- was being reduced to something small and unrecognizable by my need to own it. I hoped to hold it forever, and tightly.
In an article, simply titled, "Love," Mary Baker Eddy has this to say about this vast subject:
"No word [love] is more misconstrued; no sentiment less understood. The divine significance of Love is distorted into human qualities, which in their human abandon become jealousy and hate.
Love is not something put upon a shelf, to be taken down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal."
Strong words...and not for the faint of heart.
When I was in high school, I loved a boy. I thought he was the most lovely boy in the world. I wanted him to love me. I thought if I could get him to fall in love with me -- and then hold onto him forever -- I would be supremely happy.
Well, I think he did really like me, perhaps he even loved me, but once I thought I had secured his exclusive affection, I worried every day that his love would fade away. I worried that he would stop loving me, and start loving someone else.
About that time, I became quite ill. I went to see my Sunday School teacher. We talked about how I could pray for myself. She asked me about my heart. I thought it was a strange question. But I ended up telling her about this boy I loved. I thought that with her metaphysical support and guidance, I could do something prayerfully that would assure his commitment to me.
And I also remember how conflicted I felt when this very wise woman said that love was like a butterfly. You must let it light on you, but never try to hold it.
She then reminded me that God is Love and that I could no more own someone's love, than I could own God. She said that if I really loved this boy, I would want what God had planned for his life. If I loved him, I would want whatever was most right for him. And then she took my hands in hers, and very gently said that I might not be that most right person.
She was right. I was not always the "most right" life-partner for those whom I loved, and wanted to have love -- and want -- me in return. It took me a long time to realize this. But when I did, I began to learn a very important lesson in loving. It's a lesson that's required my return to Love's laboratory over and over again. But in this laboratory I've come to understand that Love is a self-enforcing law.
For me it comes down to:
1. If God isn't bringing something/someone into my life I don't want it.
And if He is, there is nothing I can do to undermine His will in our lives, and mess it up.
2. When you love someone you want what is most right for them.
Love means putting the other person's happiness and needs before your own -- even when it means letting go.
These are lessons that haven't always been easy for me to remember. But when I do, I feel the kind of genuine Love that pours from a fathomless well within my heart. When I feel love as something unconditional -- and unreasonable -- something that is radiating out from me, rather than coming to me, I know it's the real deal.
As Sara sings:
"...Love, not of you,
Love, not of me...
Come hold us up,
come set us free.
Not as we know it,
but as it can be.
May love pour from every pore of your being this moment, and every moment of your loving.
Kate Robertson, CS