Love redefined

heartAnne Morrow Lindbergh defined love as:

“People talk about love as though it were something you could give, like an armful of flowers. And a lot of people give love like that—just dump it down on top of you, a useless strong-scented burden. I don’t think it is anything you can give…love is a force in you that enables you to give other things. It is the motivating power. It enables you to give strength and freedom and peace to another person. It is not a result; it is a cause. It is not a product; it produces. It is a power, like steam or electricity. It is valueless unless you can give something else by means of it.”

I know what this means now.

For a long time I thought love was supposed to be about finding the perfect match between two people. A prince charming to fulfill your list of desires. Oh, those Disney movies.

I thought love was supposed to be easy, magical and effortless. And if it was work, then something was wrong. Oh, those Disney movies.

I thought you had to give your partner everything they wanted, even at your own expense. I didn’t know that it’s ok to have boundaries. Oh, good thing they invented therapy.

I also thought love was about receiving it not about giving it. It’s not that I didn’t give love, it’s that I measured love by what I was “getting” not by how good it feels to give love. A small change but a huge difference.

It turns our love is like Anne Morrow Lindbergh says, it’s a force that enables you to do things. To write poetry, stay up late with a sick child, wait for a loved one to return. It’s a motivating power that encourages you to put up Christmas lights for a friend, paint a dollhouse, cook colorful dinners, work for community change, volunteer to plant trees and create paintings for those you love.

As you think about what you are thankful for tomorrow and we enter this season of giving, ponder Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s wise words. I am and it’s changing how I love for the better.

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