Love, Courage, and Strength: Give It Away Now

Meditations in Motion

Bill and I took a trip to Pittsburgh, one of our favorite cities, last weekend. Amazingly, the reason for the visit was not a race. It seems like most of our weekend trips involve races lately.

Meditations in Motion

Just because we didn’t race doesn’t mean that we didn’t run, however. We did a 10-miler on a route that started as a wide paved bike path, dwindled to a cinder single lane, then diminished further to a hard-to-follow footpath next to a train track in the city’s North Side neighborhood next to the Allegheny River.

We ran with our friend Nancy and talked the whole 10 miles. The good thing about talking is the miles go by easily and quickly; the bad thing is I don’t have the opportunity to allow my mind to wander while I run. It’s a good trade-off, though. I run by myself a lot these days. The company and conversation were excellent. I can ruminate later. I was given an excuse to ruminate soon after returning home.

I have three sons, and now, three daughters-in-law. I love each of my daughters-in-law very much, each in a different way. They are excellent matches for my sons and getting to know them and their families has been one of the best things that has happened to me. I have had compelling conversations with each of them on topics including mental health, grief, hope, loss, and love.

When I got home, one of my daughters-in-law (you know who you are!) asked me a question that made the wheels in my head start spinning: “Is it possible to love someone too much?” My short, immediate answer: “No.” I’m not talking about infatuation or an unhealthy obsession, but too much love? I don’t think so.

Her question reminded me of this quote from Lao Tzu:

Meditations in Motion

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

When we give love to our children, our partners and our friends, we give them strength that comes from the confidence that they are loved beyond all measure.

Meditations in Motion

Could we love our children too much? I don’t think so. Maybe you think of helicopter parents, hovering over their children, obsessed with their success and satisfaction, but this phenomenon has little to do with the quantity of love the parents are giving and everything to do with conflating their child’s needs with their own. When we live life vicariously through our children, we rob them of the ability to make mistakes. Admitting that your child made a mistake in this instance is like admitting our own failures.

Meditations in Motion

Could we give too much love to a spouse or a partner? My answer to this is also “No.” I am convinced that one of the best ways to love a partner is to build him/her up whenever possible. I am not talking about giving insincere flattery or being dishonest, but when I think of love between two adults, I am always reminded of the bible verses from 1 Corinthians Bill and I had read at our wedding so many years ago:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

How could you ever get too much of this kind of love?

Meditations in Motion

I believe the words from 1 John with all my heart: “God is love.” Notice that John does not say God is lov-ing. He says God is love. I may not feel worthy of such eternal, all-encompassing love, but, somehow, it is mine. Love never ends.

But Lao Tzu’s quote says not only is the receiver of love benefitting by receiving strength, the giver is also benefitting by receiving courage.

Who can deny that it takes courage to make yourself vulnerable enough to love? What if the receiver doesn’t appreciate the gift, or worse, rejects it completely? Can I truly say that it doesn’t matter? That the giver of love is still better off, even if that love is rejected? Yes. Undoubtedly, yes.

Meditations in Motion

Oh, it is a blow to the human ego to have your love rejected. That doesn’t stop you from giving your love. As Exhibit A, I present: The Teenager. It is an uncommon and wise teenager who appreciates their parents’ love. I certainly didn’t when I was a teenager. Parents are embarrassing, nosy doofuses to most teens. And yet…we love our teenage children anyway. We want the best for them, even as we are subjected to their rages and their icy glares. We make ourselves vulnerable when we love, and that takes courage.

Meditations in Motion

When we allow ourselves the capacity to give love, we are changed for the better. Giving love makes us more patient, unselfish, compassionate and, well, more loveable. It’s cyclical. Receiving love makes us strong enough to dare to give love, which makes us brave enough to accept love. Over and over, without end.

I know that I was not asked for advice, but I am giving some anyway (unsolicited advice from a mother-in-law – awesome, right?) Give love whenever you get the chance, whenever you feel compelled to. Give it away freely, generously, and joyously without a second thought. It will bless the giver and the receiver. The Red Hot Chili Peppers can’t be wrong.

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I am linking up with Nicole and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday, Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart, Eclectic Evelyn for her Words on Wednesday,  Dare 2 Hear for Tune in Thursdays, Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, Anna Nuttall for her Bloggers Link Up, and Jamie Sumner for Sunday Thoughts..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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52 comments

  1. Never would I argue with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and it’s great that you defined “love” as what it truly is. I think I Corinthians 13 sets the standard high enough so that our human hearts could labor a life time and never love “too much” according to the true definition of love.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your comment, Michele. I think as we get older, the definition of love from 1 Corinthians becomes more and more real. I have always loved that chapter, but I appreciate it more now than when we first were married.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, Laurie! Absolutely yes! I am reading The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D. right now and he speaks of this exact phenomenon. If we give love genuinely and selflessly, it always serves to enrich us as well in the best ways possible. He talks about the conundrum of selfless love being entirely selfish as well…en route to spiritual enlightenment for both the lover and the beloved. In speaking about love for our children, he quotes Kahlil Gibran, “ Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you they belong not to you.” I just found this so profound and so very true. We must love each other for all of our uniqueness and individuality and nurture it instead of trying to stifle it. So, I agree with you completely, there is never a thing as too much love.

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was not excited about going to Pittsburgh the first time we went there. Now, I love to go, though. It is a very vibrant city with lots of good restaurants and always something interesting going on.

      Thank you for the comments on love!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I tried to comment on your weekend wrap for July 9th, but couldn’t, so I’ll comment here… 🙂 Which race in Harper’s Ferry, WVA did you run? Just curious. I think it would be a pretty place to run. There’s a hike there my husband has done a few times and wants to go back so I can join him.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I definitely don’t think you can give too much love — probably just the opposite. And whatever you give away, you receive, too.

    Take the furkids, for instance. It’s inevitable that they will never be with us as long as we’d like them to be. Do I regret any of my furkids? No, of course not, despite the fact that I seem to attract the ones who have issues, never the “easy” ones (if there really is such a thing).

    I go along with Shakespeare — better to have loved & lost & all that.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Your daughter-in-law chose her mother-in-law well. Love certainly takes courage. But the alternative, encasing oneself in a brittle little shell made mostly of ego fragments, is pretty dismal. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your posts remind me of the thoughts that go through my head on a run! This is another beautiful post. Love is funny, because you can love someone so much and yet dislike them very much at that same time! Like teenagers? All the things my men put me through, yet I love them dearly. Love is selfless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I have been there many times myself. I always love all of my family members, but there are times that I don’t like some of them very much! Thank you for your comment!

      Like

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