We are in the final stretch to the general election, and my brain should be chewing on about a gazillion campaign and election related items. Instead, I woke up this morning considering the nature of love and what it takes to let love grow and last. Not just romantic love, but fraternal love and platonic love. And I began to note the commonalities not only in my longstanding relationships, but in the longstanding relationships of the people I love and know well. As my wife and I have been happily entangled for a quarter of a century, people often ask me what the secret to a successful marriage is. There are many ingredients in that recipe, but for now let me focus on just a few.
I think many people get hung up on the idea that love should be perfect. They seek total agreement on every topic. They turn any small flaw into a deal-breaker. It’s been my experience that love just doesn’t work that way over a long period of time.
We are all flawed. We are all damaged. We all have little quirks in our personalities that wear on our friends and spouses. We are all human, and that is the way humans are.
As I look at how my longtime friends and associates relate to me and me to them, I fully acknowledge that they can see the myriad ways I am flawed and damaged. And the ones that truly love me right down to the cellular level have come to love me not despite these flaws and damage, but because of them. They *see* my broken places. Often they know how those broken places came to be, and they can see the scars that remain from the healing.
And they love me anyway. They provide me wide berth when they know I’m getting in my own way. They gently nudge me back onto the path when I lose my way, and sometimes they give me a hard shake to focus my attention where it should be focused. They protect me when they see someone trying to re-open closed wounds. They provide me sustenance when they see my spirit diminished. They love me in spite of myself and because of myself.
THIS is what unconditional love is. It is love WITHOUT condition. When someone sees *exactly* who you are, and they choose to love you every single day, it is the greatest gift any of us can be given. It is also the greatest gift we can give.
I am lucky to have family and friends who see through me, who accept my flaws and my damage with an open heart and an open mind. I hope I return that to them in full.
Once you have allowed someone to peer into the dark places and you have been allowed to peer into theirs, and the love between you grows instead of withers, the ties that bind you together strengthen in such a way that makes it difficult for the world to break. Tend those relationships well, because they are what will sustain you through those inevitable dark nights of the soul. Those relationships are what makes tomorrow glimmer with possibility and yesterday resonate with satisfaction.
Love will always win, because within love defeat cannot exist. It is worth the effort. It’s rewards are exponential. Time does not consume love, it nourishes it.
Peace and Love, yall