A Love Story

Relationships are messy, aren't they? The ones in my life seem to be full of expectation because I want things. I desire things from others like love, emotion, time and presence.  I expect to receive these things and I earnestly try to return them. I even often feel the most joy when my expectations are met in my relationships. And when they're not? That's when I feel the deepest sadness, heartache and pain. It may seem extreme but think about it: when do you feel the most disappointment? For me at least, I can say it was those times when others didn't give me what I needed most. But there is a terrible flaw in approaching relationships with this mindset. What does it say about love?

Do I really love people for who they are, or do I love them for what they give me?

If I'm fully honest with myself I usually fall under the second category. The one where love is really a hidden form of deep greed. I actually don't think it's inherently wrong to desire love, emotion or time. That's intimacy: living together and mixing your lives until they become one. Where you share joys and sorrows, pain and triumphs. But when your deep, heart filled love for another person is tied up in their behavior towards you, you've made a terrible mistake. You've exchanged love for greed.

In my life I'm realizing that there are some people who may never give me forgiveness. They may never give me their time, or love, or even themselves. I may never get what I truly crave and desire from my relationship with them. My expectations may be shattered - never to be fulfilled. It's tempting to walk away and give up. Stop loving them and move on to others who make it easier to. But real love, is a choice outside of behavior.

Real love is choosing to persist even when I'm rejected. When I'm cast down and spit on. When  I'm abandoned and mocked. When someone close to my heart decides they want nothing to do with me. How is love in situations like this possible? When my expectations may never be met? It's so hard and in my own life I'm struggling to find answers.

I'm learning how to love others for who they are, even when they give me nothing.

This is one of the hardest things that I will probably ever do. To be honest, I don't intend to make myself sound glorified. I think it's only possible to actually love like this because of grace. Grace from God who loved me even when I rejected Him deeply. When I gave Him nothing and earned a life eternally separated from Him. He saw my hatred towards Him but ran after me. Loved me with a love that keeps persisting to this day. A love that escapes time, boundaries and expectations. It is only when I understand this ultimate love that I can move forward, learning to truly love people in my life.

It's a love story.