“For one human being to love another:
that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks,
the ultimate, the last test and proof,
the work for which all other work is but preparation.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
— John 13:35, The Bible
I was taught at a young age about promises that weren’t kept, and how disappointing people can be. It was a very dysfunctional world to me. I learned to see people’s flaws and to talk about them behind their back and such. In fact, most of my life was spent in pursuit of “better people.” I was wise enough to realize that this included myself; however, it was also obvious that a lot of other people needed some serious help.
In 1996, I decided to seriously read the Bible. I wasn’t going to church, but decided to have my own church so to speak and spent several weeks reading the Bible cover to cover with the help of cassette tapes to keep me moving at a certain pace and aid in getting the most retention in the process. I began with the New Testament in the Gospels. After reading about Jesus over and over, something unexpected happened and I found myself crying as if weeping and from then on, I tear up at the drop of a hat and especially about happy things. The word love began to take on a whole new meaning to me that I had never really experienced before. I was touched briefly with unconditional love and knew it instantly was perfection.
I spent the next ten years joining a church and becoming a church leader, worship leader and such, and then I walked away from it generally. I still go once in a while, but rarely now. I thought what I was looking for was there, but it was not enough.
Since then, I have been growing in unconditional love–working at it so to speak–except working is the wrong word. Allowing is a better word for it. Here’s what I found. It is not something that is somewhere outside of me to find. It is inside me to allow. Once I began to see this, it became easier and then was just a matter of practicing allowing it. In many ways, I use Jesus as a role model for I have found no other that is better to emulate.
Now, as I meet people, learn about them, and deal with them in business and without, I practice allowing myself to love them without any expectation that they satisfy me. I practice it at home and with relatives alike. I don’t have to agree with people or their philosophies, attitudes and such, but just love them the way they are. To see that they are perfect the way they are regardless of anything I see. I try to see the beauty in them.
And guess what? More than any other single thing, I believe that this has brought me more joy in the last 5 years than in the 56 years prior. And, guess what else? It gets better and easier and more joyous every day. I can truly say now that I can love every one. I feel it is certain that I will get to the point that I will. It’s a most worthwhile journey.
“Love Is All You Need!” — Lennon & McCartney
Spread Some Joy Today–Begin practicing on your coworkers. See their beauty and perfection, their uniqueness and sameness, their humanity and most of all their heart.