“Do you love your cousin?” She asked, with a real curiosity that was palpable.
“Ya, I have lots of cousins and I love all of them.” We paused, and I could almost feel her thinking.
“Do you love your friends?” I let the question really sit with me for a moment.
“Yes, I do love my friends.” We paused again, in thoughtful silence.
“And do you love your mom?” Her little voice, so sincere…
“I do love my mom, very much.” A long silence passed, and I almost changed the subject or asked her about whether she loved the people in her life, but I could feel she was about to say something more. I waited…and waited….glancing at her face in the rear view mirror with anticipation.
“Ya, because everyone has to love everybody that they have.”
As she said this, we drove on an overpass and the view of the ocean opened to me. I felt the wisdom of her words spread over me…”Everyone has to love everybody that they have.”
The love that we hunger for lives within us. It is the undercurrent of all of our relationships. We don’t really get to choose whether we love people or not. It is there.
We do get to choose how much we open to the love that is there. We can choose to resist it, push it away, or we can surrender to it. We can let the waves of it wash over us. Instead of rushing to get to work we can take two minutes to let an eager child share a drawing. We can stop ourselves from interrupting a child's thoughts and wait for them to speak. We can take a big breath and listen to their crying, feeling the pain of their hearts, instead of distracting them from their sadness. We can show a loved one that they hurt us when they didn’t show up, instead of pretending it’s ok. We can allow the pain of loving one another to move through us, so that the light of loving one another can shine.
May we practice expressing our love with fullness, gentleness, grit, fierceness, and tenacity.