Framing My Love

Playing with my camera the other night

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Loving someone isn’t easy. And I don’t mean that swell of affection you feel for someone. I mean the ‘love is a decision’ kind of love. And I am not referring to loving someone when you feel like wringing the person’s neck either. What I’m thinking of is more in the lines of the ‘if you really love someone, let him/her go’ type of thing. But I’m not talking about the ‘bye bye see you next time if we’re meant to be’ type of letting go either.

I’ve always been very in tune with whether my beloved feels my love or not. I usually want my beloved to feel supported and understood by me, and to have no doubt of my presence and commitment in his/her life. That’s understandable, right? This is so strong such that when someone I love indicate to me some distress or disappointment about how he/she is feeling regarding my presence or involvement in his/her life, I get distressed too. And I usually will scramble to assure the person otherwise.

I also suck at watching my beloved suffer. Whenever someone I love is going through a difficult personal time, I feel a strong wish and desire to remove that suffering if it were within my ability. Of course I know that I shouldn’t, even if I could… because if I did, I would be depriving him/her of important opportunities for personal growth. But that desire is nevertheless strong.

I’m also very afraid of being misunderstood. To have a beloved feel/think (or for me to think that a beloved feels/thinks) that I have drifted further away when I know my love has remained constant is a thorn in the side. Under such circumstances, I usually reflexively ‘take action’ in an attempt to correct the misperception. It never really occurred to me before a few weeks ago that this may not always be the loving thing to do. The question then is, will I be willing to be potentially misunderstood? Do I have confidence that my love is no less real, or less helpful to my beloved, even if he/she cannot feel it? What is really important to me? That I should love the person, or that the person feels loved by me? I know both are important. But there are times when the two cannot occur together…and really, if you think about it, though genuine love is often felt by the beloved, there are times when it is not felt… and there are times when we feel loved that we are not really being loved as well as we could be.

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Change and growth can be unsettling to myself and those around me. *heh* And at times I still struggle between learning to glean the kernel of truth from a piece of advice and implementing it in my own way and feeling the pressure to accept advice wholesale when I recognize its wisdom. Very often, I feel obliged to do the latter, especially when it comes from my mother whom I know is very wise.

I know that she doesn’t want me to feel that way, and nor does she expect me to follow her advice wholesale. I still feel upset when I feel a conflict between her advice and my own internal direction. But the pressure is lessened when I realize that I ought to glean the kernel of truth from her advice which is based on what has worked well for her in her life, and that I am free to put it to use in my life in the way that I discern is best for myself.

I’m at a stage in my life where I’m trying to find balance… between my old life and the new one to come… between the various dimensions of my life… and over and over again, I realize that God is pushing me to go and discover more deeply what it means to love.

I profess that I love Him. I know that I love Zibin, my family, and my friends. But do I really love? Sad to say, my personal journey has made me realize that I’ve been loving all the above-mentioned poorly. And it’s not just the difference between loving much and loving well. Truly unselfish and gratuitous love can only be given when something very deep in me is transformed. It’s not just a matter of will or knowledge. I will most likely take a life-time and still not perfect it, but I will not cease in its pursuit.

I appreciate all those who through words of truth challenge and remind me of this task. I know that genuine love that spurs me to grow can sometimes hurt when I don’t yet understand it. Thank you all for having the courage to love me enough to speak truth to me, and for not protecting me when I need to develop strength on my own.

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