When I first got this assignment about being loved well, it made me think of enduring a lifetime of not being loved well. Often, when we think about love, we assume romantic relationships.
I have had a few.
Some stand in judgement, others do not.
I do not judge myself. I know that I am faulted and flawed and I own my side of the street. I can only do what’s in front of me to do and, like Maya Angelou, I believe that you “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
Expecting anyone to have a crystal ball to predict the future is a ridiculous expectation. The words “should have known” are absurd. We make decisions based on the information we have at the time and when we get different information, we can make different decisions. To blame myself for things I had no way of knowing would happen in the future is completely unrealistic.
So, why do we put these expectations of guilt on one another, even getting mad at people for what they could not have known?
I look at things so differently; always have, probably always will. I like the way God made me.
Love is a risk every single time. A worthy one. One I have by His grace been able to go all-in on. When we love, we jump. We risk it all for the hope, the promise, the forever.
It feels like a miracle to be able to do this when you have been hurt mentally, emotionally, and physically.
To me, it reveals God’s grace, his mercy, his healing, and the tenacity He created me with. I have been told many times that I have a gift of love. There’s a reserve within me with which only He could have gifted me.
When my precious Daddy was dying, God showed me another gifting. Although it was a bittersweet revelation, I realized the gift of love I have was also given to me by my earthly Daddy. As he was being taken by the ravages of cancer, pumped up on pain meds, hallucinating bunnies with broken ears, and invisible menus to pick dinner from, a person could walk into his room and the transformation that happened was stunning. My Daddy would become fully present, asking in the only way he always did, “How ya doin?” Showing concern as he always did, revealing the heart he always had.
I believe there are treasures to glean even in the hard places. The result is that nothing is irredeemable. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is without purpose. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt or isn’t hard. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t made me mad, or even induced a panic attack or a hundred.
I won’t sugar coat it but I will tell you that if you find yourself on a hard journey, look and you will find treasure. There is a holiness within the horrible. And we gain a new kind of compassion when loss, grief, and pain have broken us.
I have loved deeply, therefore I have grieved deeply. It is never something I’d wish for anyone. Yet I do wish everyone enough – just enough – that we find ourselves able to sit with one another in compassionate empathy and understanding.
This was supposed to be a story about being loved well but I believe the greater story is to love well.
If you are in a room of people and they all want to be loved, who gets loved? No one. But if you are in a room of loving people, who gets loved? Everyone.
I may not have a final great love story.
Forever love is merely a room in my life where I took the risk for the promise, the hope, and the forever of love, with no happily ever after. But I give it my all, every single time.
I give this gift of love away to everyone in my life and that is my love story: It is better to love well.
I pray we all learn how to love one another well.