Love Takes All of Ourselves

Jul 28, 2014

To love means to bring all of ourselves to the table.

Remember what falling in love is like—the absorption in the one loved, the desire to be close to the other, the giddiness, that sensation of falling—remember that this is a phase that signals the start of love, but does not last. What I’ve described is a little bit like what real love is. But the potential for real love comes after one crashes down from the “falling-in-love” heights. After the veil is removed from our eyes, after the faults in the other become oh-so-visible.

For real love is a decision, it’s an over-all policy towards another and towards others, to love them no matter what, no matter what their faults and great qualities. And then once one gets past making the decision to love the other, there can come a period of embracing the person as they are—warts and all, of taking real enjoyment and pleasure in the other, of love flowing once again, but now in a more reasonable, not-so-heady, more grounded way.

Once you reach this stage of love, then you have the potential to go all the way: to the stage of bringing your whole self to the relationship with another person or with God—heart, mind, soul and body. Now you are out beyond any tendency to wish you were somewhere else when the other begins to talk. You have no desire to check your watch or phone or to think about when you can gracefully exit. You are totally present to the other, as willing to share with them as they are with you. You see them as the Creator sees each of his creatures, with love, with embrace, with compassion, with interest in where they have been and where they see themselves going. You see the potential for the whole person and what they could bring to life. You might go beyond being present to the other by offering to help in any way you feel called to. That’s nice, but the most help you ever are to another is to just be willing to be with them, to love them as they are. For Love heals, empowers, emboldens, comforts and girds. Once we have been truly loved we are never the same again. Hungers and addictions, compulsions and terrors can vanish when embraced by Love.

Love is total absorption in, embrace of, forgiveness of, acknowledgement of the person before you. Love sees the child of God in the person before you. It recognizes Christ within him/her. It sees the person as whole. It flows positively towards that person in a river of embracing fondness and tenderness. It takes great pleasure in being with the person.

LOVE from God is like that– all the time flowing towards us, embracing us, delighting in us. Think always of the father in the Prodigal Son with his welcome and celebration and restoration of the errant son to his rightful place in the family. And the father confronts the “good” son for being obedient, for following the rules, but not grasping at all his place in the kingdom, that all the father is now offering to the prodigal son has been the “good” son’s all along. So we can think of love as drawing us into our rightful inheritance, into accepting the place God has for us in his creation, in embracing the Source of all there is, and most of all in feeling his love down to every cell in our bodies, every corner of our mind, in every dark emotional corner of our psyches.

To love with our whole selves—heart, mind, soul and body—takes breaking through the illusion of what life is thought to be from a human point of view. The Hindus call this maya, the illusion that keeps us from the whole of reality. It’s a veil, something that keeps us seeing only in part or vaguely, or misunderstanding what we do see. To us Christians to see life clearly is living like the flowers of the field. Jesus says, “they do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these….Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:25-31 NIV]

Above all else seek God’s kingdom and all will be given to you. With your whole self seek the kingdom and you will be love, because the worry and anxiety and angers and preoccupations and invalid assumptions you make about life will be healed. And what is left of you will be able to love. You will stand in the flow of love, not stopping its progress, but in turn pouring it right back out to whoever you meet. The solution to your dilemmas in life lies in totally giving ourselves to God and in seeking his kingdom—then you will be able to love, to truly love.

The flowers of the field are simply what they were created to be. Nothing more, nothing less. That is Christ’s intention with us—and where he would lead us—to be exactly what we were created to be and to do. Nothing else is required of us. That is what Love would bring us to. That is what Love wants for us.



Questions to ponder over the week: If I were to rate myself on my ability to love on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “ am totally self-absorbed” and 10 being “I bring my whole self to love—heart, soul, mind and body,” what number would I choose? What stands in the way of my being able to love at 10– with all of myself? What step could I take today that would put me on the path to loving as a 10?

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