Living in Love Award: Submission: Love Is…
This post represents the sixth blogger in the running for the Living in Love Award. I don’t know if that was her intention, but I am including her anyway! This submission was written by Judith Atwood. The first step to earning the Award is Defining what Love means to you. Please check out Diabetic Redemption, for her first submission.
I receive a daily inspirational email from Neale Donald Walsh, whose website is Conversations with God. Today’s says On this day of your life, Judith, I believe God wants you to know:
…that love is not what you want, it is what you are. It is very important to not get these two confused.
As these emails sometimes do, this one struck a chord with me. I have wanted love my entire life: first from my parents, and then from anyone I thought might love me. This, as I look back on it, is awfully sad. And, of course, I was sad right along with it. He goes on to say:
If you think that love is what you want, you will go searching all over the place. If you think love is what you are, you will go sharing it all over the place. The second approach will cause you to find what the searching will never reveal.
What a concept! If I had read this 5 years ago, I would have thought this guy was out of his mind. In fact, I wouldn’t have understood what he was saying. And I looked for love everywhere I could think of — many times in the most very wrong places: in bars, among my congregation, among other students at school and college. I even met a dry drunk in a clean and sober club, and I ended up marrying him. After 15 years of this, you would think I’d have learned.
I found plenty of sex. Oh, yes. Most of it not too smart, either. Considering the number of one-night-stands I orchestrated during those years, I find it a flat-out miracle that I’m not long dead from HIV/AIDS, or permanently scarred by some other awful condition. And every time I had sex with someone I didn’t love, or who didn’t love me, I was further cementing the idea that I wasn’t worth anything, and that I’d never find love.
I have heard people say, dozens of times, that “you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself.” I loved everyone but myself. And I couldn’t make anyone love me. Unrequited love was my best event, as they say in sports. Until last year, when the light sparked on, and I understood. Not as much about finding someone to love, as loving myself. My entire life suddenly made an awful kind of sense, and I had some time forgiving myself. But it worked.
So now, I live love. At least most of the time; I still need to work on gossip. But I exist in this beautiful bubble of love, and it affects everything that I say, do, write. And I’m not looking for love from anyone in particular. So I am surrounded by people who love me, just because that is the way I live.
I’m no longer searching for love. And that decision allowed me to find it. Finally. Thank goodness.