February is a fitting month to reflect on the nature of love. Winter allows us the opportunity (should we take it) to get cozy and hopefully slow down enough to truly appreciate that which we cherish in a close-up, contemplative way. We needn’t limit our ideas about love to romance. After all, love has many different forms, and they are all important. Whether your experiences of love come from interacting with a life partner, a child, parents, siblings, coworkers, clients, pets, or nature – take some time to think how you can best express your love to the world this month.
The older I get, the more I am realizing that all too often we are taught to see love as somehow serving us – we want love in our lives because it makes us feel joyful, excited, comforted or peaceful. Of course love often brings forth these positive feelings – they are huge blessings and should never be taken for granted. But perhaps we need to focus more on the true hallmark of love – selfless giving. The version of love depicted in most religious texts is not all roses and chocolates – on the contrary, love is looking beyond ourselves and truly serving another.
It should be made very clear here that I’m by no means an expert servant. Marriage has been a wonderful and beautiful journey so far but it has also exposed a lot of… ahem… growth areas… for me. In a weird way marriage has shown me just how selfish or inflexible or unkind I can be, simply because when you live with someone they see all your bad moments in addition to the good ones. No matter how much you love someone, there are times when you don’t choose to act in a loving way. But there is indeed hope, because every day is a new opportunity to learn how to love better.
Wherever you’re at in terms of love, there is always room to grow. None of us are perfect, but nor are we hopeless. Each moment is a chance to be mindful and kind… Keep striving to be more loving; sometimes you might just surprise yourself when you act truly out of compassion, serving those around you as peace and joy fill your heart.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8