Saturday, November 14, 2020

November 14--Unconditionally

The ultimate lesson is learning how to love and be loved unconditionally. 
--Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

    It is easy to love the folks that we love. Well, that's mostly true. I love my sons dearly, but that love was frequently challenged during their teenage years. That is where the "unconditional" comes in. Even if I didn't like how they were behaving, I still loved them with all my being. Let's face it--even those we love the most have qualities or behaviors that annoy us, but we are able to love them in spite of all that. 
    Loving unconditionally means we love everyone, even those folks whom we deem completely unworthy of our love. Yuck, I don't like this, because this is so HARD. It has taken me a lifetime of internal work to have even the tiniest bit of love for my abusive older brother Ken. I've learned many a powerful spiritual lesson from his behavior toward me, and I can appreciate that. It often seems that there are just so many assholes out there, and the thought of loving them unconditionally seems nearly impossible. Learning to love is a practice, like all of life. 
    Maybe learning to be loved unconditionally is the toughest of all. It seems that early on in life we become clued into our many apparent faults and shortcomings, making it a challenge to maintain our sense of worthiness relative to love. Receiving back the love I circulate among family and friends is not something I dwell on much. I must confess there is always a bit of surprise in me when there is a specific expression of love returned to me. It is the thought of "Oh, yeah, I do have a positive impact on others." Learning to be loved is a practice, too. 
    Perhaps the best way to get a handle on unconditional love is via pet ownership. Our dog Barney is the epitome of unconditional love. And I love him even when he poops in the house because, God forbid, there's snow everywhere outside and therefore no suitable spot to leave his treasure. 😉😉
    The following is a prayer by Richard Rohr:
God, lover of life, lover of these lives,
God, lover of our souls, lover of our bodies, lover of all that exists . . .
In fact, it is your love that keeps it all alive . . .
May we live in this love.
May we never doubt this love.
May we know that we are love,
That we were created for love,
That we are a reflection of you,
That you love yourself in us and therefore we are perfectly lovable.

May we never doubt this deep and abiding and perfect goodness.

We are because you are.
    May we each recognize the extraordinary amount of love we have to circulate--give AND receive--to bless our world. 

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