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Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Deeper Understanding Of Love

As I write this post, I struggle for words. I don't know where to begin or how to convey my thoughts. I don't know where this reflection will take me or how it will end. I'm sort of just typing whatever comes to mind. I tried to avoid this topic but something inside told me to pursue it. I know there's a lesson in it for me that I have yet to discover. I pondered over these words when Fr. Leo said them in his prayer and I asked myself "How do I achieve a deeper understanding of love? Have I ever had a deep understanding of love that I somehow forgot about and now I'm being reminded to rediscover how it feels and what it means?" I thought maybe the right person/people and the right circumstances will lead one to a deeper understanding of love. Would you know it as soon as it happens to you, or will it take some time to realize it? I resolved to keep an open mind and let this reflection take its own course.

And just like that, my reverie took me to the first time I became a mother. The time when I held my newborn son and I was filled with an overwhelming rush of emotions. The time I gave birth to my second son was no different. All of a sudden, the labor pains I felt hours before no longer mattered as I marveled at the beauty of the tiny human being I held in my arms. My eyes welled up with tears, realizing just then how precious life is and God entrusted me with two others beside my own. All I wanted is to give my babies everything I could possibly give; to love and protect for as long as I live. Right at the same moment, episodes from my life flashed in my mind: I saw my parents' concern when I stressed over school, work, or life in general; the worries I put them through on nights I came home late from a party or on nights I didn't come home at all. They must have prayed incessantly for my safety, trusting me to make the right choices. I didn't know all these when I was young and reckless. Now as a parent, I know that I can only build a foundation for my children out of love and trust and pray that the foundation is solid enough for them to build upon as they discover the world on their own.

To love is to let go. It's one of the ultimate sacrifices for parents to let our children spread their wings after having nurtured them but we do so because we love them and because we know their independence affords them the opportunity to be part of something bigger. It is also setting a loved one free so they can pursue their dreams.

To love is to sacrifice. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."-- John 3:16. One of my favorite scriptures and undoubtedly the most remembered. This reminds us that Jesus laid out His life for us so we can be redeemed. This also calls to mind John 15:13 which states: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Think of the veterans who fought and risked their lives and those who are currently fighting for our freedom, and those who gave up their lives to save their fellow soldiers. Additionally, not to forget the ordinary people we hear about who heroically save others from danger. Is there a love deeper than this?

It is in loving that we become courageous. It is in loving that we unselfishly give of ourselves. It is also in loving that we show our appreciation to those who devote their time, resources and talents. It is in loving we learn to be patient, kind and generous. It is in loving that we remain steadfast when relationships are on rocky ground. It is in loving that we don't give up on friends. It is in loving that we reach out our hand to someone in need. It is out of love to see the good in others and the best of intentions. It is out of love that we speak the truth and become accountable for our actions. When we love, we become transparent and trusting. We become vulnerable and feel safe at the same time. It is in loving that we forgive and seek to be forgiven, to understand and be understood, to hear and be heard.

Sometimes it is also out of love when we choose to love from a distance. "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." -- 1 Peter 4:8

When I started, I didn't know how this will end, but as I opened my heart to possibilities, and my mind to only the truth, I have begun to embrace a deeper understanding of love.

--with faith and gratitude,
Elle

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