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Monday, February 12, 2007

Easier Than Love


It's easier to love on Valentine's day, is it not? It's easy to give flowers, its easy to give those bears with magnet noses, and its easy to make breakfast in bed for your lady (I started this tradition 8 years ago…little did I know that I will have to do that for the rest of my life.) It is simply easier to give love on this day. But is it not always easier to give love than to receive it?

I would argue that it is always easier to give love.

I will never forget rolling down the ONE Kauai freeway on my honeymoon with my new wife. Just a few rainy days into our marriage she showed me love in a way that I had never experienced. As we drove, we revisited stories from our childhood. As we shared, I told am ugly story of physical abuse from my past. While trying to keep my dry eyes on the road, I began to paint the tragic picture and…she wept. Taryn wept over the abuse that I frequently made light of. As she cried, I said, "don't cry for me…don't cry about this story. Its not big deal and it has nothing to do with you." She responded by squeezing my hand to physically express the immense pain she felt for me. She squeezed my hand for minutes. Many minutes. I had never been loved like this…and it was difficult, for me, to receive that kind of love. This is simply an example that...

Giving love is often easier than receiving love.

When we receive love we often feel guilty. If guilty is too strong a word, perhaps uncomfortable is better. We think, how could someone love me knowing that I ________? How could someone know the deepest, darkest, eeriest parts of my soul and still meet me with a kiss? How could someone cry over my pain?

What makes it so difficult to receive love is that we know that we are often unworthy of the love that we receive. We are unworthy of those kissy bears, big screen TVs, and heart shaped pizzas. We are unworthy of the thank you note, the 14 dozen roses, and the $11,000 engagement ring. We become uncomfortable because we feel unworthy. There is something very humiliating (humiliation can be a positive thing!!) about admitting that we are not worthy of gifts, acts of kindness, and immaculate dates (not to mention that we are often undeserving of the grace, forgiveness, and patience that comes along with those forms of love).

Receiving love requires humility.

So often we love others because it is comfortable. So often, personally, I love others because it is easier for me than being loved. I can keep others at a distance through my loving of them…because I do not have the humility to allow others to love me and the darkest corners of my story.

This Valentine's Day it is my hope that I can love Taryn…and allow Taryn the pleasure of loving. With all that being said…do you agree with me? What makes it difficult for you to receive love? Do you find it easier to receive love? Think of (and comment on) an example where you experienced, undeserved, unconditional love. Was it comfortable? Was it easy? Do you struggle with humbling yourself before the Other so that they may love even the ugliest parts of who you are?

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