What do I mean by that?
I’ve been thinking about love lately. More in the esoteric, relational sense.
Love is a verb. We’ve all heard that one billion and twelve times, haven’t we. That’s not where I’m going with this.
This thought occurred to me today. Do I love in spite of (fill in the blank) or do I love because of (fill in the blank) and is there really a difference? Is this a black and white issue?
Yes and no, respectively.
Yes, there is a difference.
When we love because of, or On Purpose we are seeing the positive aspects of the other person and placing value upon them based on the good we see, the blessing we acknowledge and we can agree we see an intrinsic and inherent value in the other person
When we say we love in spite of, we are saying that we are making a conscious choice to behave in a positive manner toward someone who making it a hell of a lot harder than we ever imagined.
No, this is not black and white.
There are times I choose to love someone even in the face of heinous behavior. There are times I don’t particularly feel like loving someone or believing the best or supporting them or their life. I choose to do so and thereby I have opted to love in spite of (fill in the blank).
There are times you are able to see and appreciate and admire the great and wonderful person you have in your life. You encourage and are encouraged, you laugh together. You enjoy them. You are able to see how much this person adds to your life and because of them you see light and joy in your life. That’s the Because.
What’s my point?
When all we can see is the Love In Spite Of, we wear out, we exhaust normal resources of compassion, trust, respect and honor. We are constantly confronted by all the negativity of the person who is at the focal point of our grim determination to freakin’ love and support, encourage and protect even if it kills us.
Being a martyr doesn’t make you a good friend. Somebody dies. And it’s not always for a good reason.
And if sheer determination to make something work and come out the hero is all you can see? It’s time to determine if there really is a relationship there worth saving.
You want to salvage? Start over again or renew perspective? Try to remember the things that drew you to this other person from the start. If that’s a huge stretch put it in G-d’s hands. By that I mean this. Start with G-d’s perspective on humanity. This other person is created in His image, worth dying for and valuable beyond all of His other creation.
Remember why you love and you’ll be able to implement a G-dly how when circumstances are shrieking at you, confusion is all you know and your heart is exhausted.
Loving In Spite Of wears thin, wears out and destroys if that is all there is. Love Because Of provides a foundation and a vision, a hope and future against all odds.
Besides, you’re probably here because you prayed for Patience or asked for G-d’s ability to love His people.