Love is . . .

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Love.

It’s in the air, yeah?
This year I will turn 31. I just want to start off by saying that I am nowhere near where I thought I’d be at 31. My entire life, I have only dreamed of love. I remember being a little girl and just dying to grow up so I could fall in love and feel that magnificent bloom inside of me. I wanted it all. The flowers and the snowy walks and the cuddles and the babies. All of it.
As I grew older my desire for love only deepened. I yearned for it every waking moment. I woke up with it on my lips and I fell asleep with it tucked within me. I wanted love. I wanted love so badly.
What was is that I actually wanted? To be seen? Yes. To be understood in a way no one else could understand me? Yes. To have someone to vent to, and joke with, and for the both of us to look out at this world exactly the same and just…get it? Yes. All of it.
Well, that never happened. Sure, I did fall in love, but it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t the kind of love you’d snap photos of or write home about. But, still, it was connectedness. And it created life. . and that is good.
Then, I started to really examine my thoughts on love. This idea I’ve longed after for so many years, what even is it?
I have come to believe that the version of love society shoves down our throats is actually not love at all. The love we see in movies and on television, it is self seeking. I know because that is what I longed for. Someone to get ME. Someone who understands ME. It was not about what I can do for someone else, it was all about me.
Love is pouring out for someone, even if we are empty ourselves. Love is not self seeking, or boastful, or jealous. Love is willing the good of another, at whatever cost. Love is sacrifice. It is a collaboration of giving.
When I began to pray for my son’s father, to will his good, only then did I understand what it meant to love him.
Another discovery I made, it is a more natural endeavor to love our children than our spouses. We climb the mountains for them, and often it doesn’t feel like work, because we love already from a place of total self denial.
To love my son, my arms must be wide open. But to look at our spouse, through the flaws and the annoyances and the imperfections, and decide to love them anyway? To choose to not just tolerate them or exist beside them, but love them despite how much you may not want to, ah, therein lies the magic, yes?
And it is magic. It may not come with butterflies or stars or shortness of breath. It will be transformative and captivating. It will sink into your skin. It will awaken you. Only giving can do that. Only pouring out.
That is the love I now crave. So I open myself up to people a little more now. I look for the places that can be filled, knowing that if I give more, I will receive more. If one day I do meet someone that will choose to love me, my greatest hope is that I will be able to pour out for them, endlessly, selflessly, and patiently. 
That’s the love I want. The messy one. The raw and aching one. The one that hurts. That’s it.
Mother Teresa said it best. “Love until it hurts. And then love some more.”
 
So let’s SHiFT how we love and  love a little more.
Written with Love by Blogger  Johnna Sullivan