It was about two weeks ago that my father placed new writings on his webpage #2, and in one of his entries I read this “The most important and significant individual in my life has been my beloved daughter, Christine. I am very grateful she chose me to be her father. It was a love miracle…for the first time I felt love from my heart for another human being, not just “understand” it with my mind…”
I pondered the distinction he made between “feeling” and “understanding” love. It made sense to me.
To “understand” love toward others is far different from “feeling” or experiencing love for another.
Throughout my life, I have tried to show love to all…a love which is ever present…to friend or foe…acquaintance or stranger. The “love” I speak of in that context is a brotherly love: a desire to do no harm, to have no malice, to be kind, to respect all other’s and their freedom as fellow human beings. It is a “love” I understand with my mind and which I endeavor to express. It is the love of God through me for all His children and thereby all my brothers and sisters.
But it is not the love my father wrote of. For the love he is speaking of is a feeling in one’s heart of both recognition and a deep appreciation for the beloved and who they truly are. One is aware of its unique presence.
It is not reliant on circumstances. It never condemns or judges. It focuses not on one’s own or another’s past and the mistakes therein, but sees who an individual is now. Current mistakes, foibles, and misunderstandings and the temporary conflicts they can lead to are not confused with the realization that such occurrences result merely from our being fallible human beings with the emotions (and emotional weaknesses) which can lead us to react rather than patiently respond. Disagreements occur between human beings, communication sometimes seems difficult, and appearances then can be upsetting.
But no matter what, the truth remains that our love for this other individual is not dependent on their making us feel “good” or in anything they can provide or give to us, it is not dependent on them fulfilling any expectation for expectations are never present in true love. Our love lies in our whole appreciation of the unique individual they are. (Though through who they are, all the aspects of personality and values, we may find ourselves happy, content, inspired, or strengthened because of knowing such an individual.)
I read this quote a few days ago:
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” – Sam Keen, from To Love and Be Loved.
This allows for both to simultaneously teach and learn from each another. Knowing each can make mistakes, yet also knowing each seeks to be in the truth, we choose to focus not on our shortcomings and weaknesses, but on the good we see so that we may encourage one another.
With no expectations and no assumptions, we choose to want to get to know who a person truly is. Who they are is someone our spirit responds to and with whom we recognize a rapport and deep appreciation.
We see their heart – and if a love of truth is present – we respond to this- for this is the real person. And such an individual, with love of truth within, lives in that way – seeking to grow – seeking to learn – and seeking to teach and share – and in the process their work on this earth is often a blessing to others in the unique way that only they can be. And in this recognition and our own admiration and respect for such a person, we love who that person truly is and seek to help them do what they are led to do, and hope that we may in some part be of assistance and be a part of adding happiness to their life. The other being happy becomes as one’s own happiness. You look at them in appreciation and want only to be part of helping them fulfill the dreams they hold. You pray for them to be strengthened, to be blessed, that they realize and be true to who they are, that they listen to God’s guidance, and for their protection.
True love seeks only to give, without thought of receiving. It will never leave due to stress; it is not predicated on the situation or reciprocity. It simply appreciates another, and seeks, to the degree the other is willing to receive, to give to the other that which may help them in their life. It is a commitment within to furthering the other’s happiness. It emanates from your heart and remains regardless of what the other person does or doesn’t do.
It is true love. It is rare. It is beautiful.
It may occur between any two individuals be they family, close friends, or spouses.
On this Father’s Day, I wish to express my awareness and my deep gratitude for my father’s feeling of love for me. It has resulted in his commitment to my being happy, a respect for the life I choose, a supportive concern which has always been a blessing to me. It has resulted in my becoming an individual who is true to herself, who seeks God’s will for my life, who values truth, and who is unafraid to be introspective. He has shown me true love between individuals is possible.