Re:learning to love

If you asked each one of us in our family if we loved each other, the answer would be “yes”. But if love itself could reply back, it might have strong objections based on the last few months. Love’s defining attributes of kindness and unselfishness have been deleted as if we could modify them with a few clicks. We have taken a high-calling and blistered it with sarcasm, stripped it of compassion and nullified it with things that are clearly not love (such as disowning family members in the heat of an argument…insert audible sigh here). I have brain-block most of the time and I can’t seem to communicate well with my husband. My kids scream at each other. I yell. We slam doors, we condescend, we complain. Our space is closing in on us.

I am not here to place blame. This is about the mechanics of a family working together, and how the moving parts have started to seize up and malfunction. What a lousy, miserable job we have done at loving. And yet, this all-too-familiar storyline plays out everywhere I look from news feed, to politics. It’s a tug-of-war; it’s a battle of wills, it’s a rivalry for control. For ages we’ve seen the script unfold in a thousand different ways. But here in our family, we need to revisit what love is—to reach far beyond our own lame definitions that keep allowing us to bruise each others’ hearts. And, even if we are quarantined-out and losing our cool, can we please take care of each other better than this? 

Centuries ago, people were admonished to cover their doorways and walls with the words of God. We need more of those in our house that remind us to listen first, speak last, slow our impulses, and to forgive quickly. Apathy has corroded our hearts and we need pure, absolute love to wash back through them. But the truth is: love quietly waits to be chosen. It doesn’t scream or yell or demand its way, we have to find it underneath our urge to self-preserve, dig it out, and then raise it high.


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