Mrs B is back!
Thank you so much for your comments on facebook and twitter in response to my first blog. I’m really glad you liked it and have come back for more. So here’s ‘Love’ part two…
When I was a youthworker I used to do an exercise with the girls I worked with where they had to complete the phrase “I know I’m loved when…”. With the younger girls it often took them a long time to get started because they found it difficult to articulate how love was shown to them. They just seemed to know, somehow, that they were loved – by their parents, sibilings and family. As they got older the responses changed, and I particularly remember one which read something like this;
I know I’m loved when…my parents say they are proud of me even though I do things that wouldn’t make any parent proud. They forgive the bad stuff and love me anyway.”
I was taken aback by this very insightful response – which seemed to perfectly sum up the love a parent has for their child. It’s an overwhelming love. An unconditional love. An unending love.
I also remember sitting one day with another girl, Zoe, telling me she was having an abortion the next day. She was 16 years old and 8 weeks pregnant. Zoe was intelligent, beautiful and an exceptionally talented singer and performer. She exuded warmth and fun, and had a magnetic personality. There was SO much about Zoe that made her parents proud. But as the tears streamed down her face she explained that her reason for terminating the pregnancy was not because she didn’t feel ready to have a baby, or was worried about ruining her future – but because she felt like she had let her Dad down. That he would be angry and kick her out of home. That he would be ashamed and disown her. That he wouldn’t love her anymore.
And even now, some years on, the memory of that conversation makes me desperately sad. I didn’t know her Dad, and I don’t know how he would have responded. But I suspect that the love he felt for his daughter would have remained – even through the arguments and anger and disappointment.
According to wikipedia,
Unconditional love is a term that means to love someone regardless of the loved one’s qualities or actions. The paragon of unconditional love is a mother’s love for her newborn.”
For many people, the love they are shown by a parent, or the love they show to their own child, is the only example of unconditional love in their lives. Even the love of a spouse or partner might come with conditions (“I’ll love you for as long as love me…for as long as you’re faithful to me…for as long as you don’t hurt me…)
I want my boys to know that no matter what they do – anger me, disappoint me, betray me, stop loving me – I will ALWAYS love them unconditionally.
And my love for them is just a tiny reflection of the kind of love that God shows to us. It’s not based on whether we love Him. It’s not based on whether we ‘do the right thing’. It’s not based on whether we make Him proud. God loves us because we are His children and he created us to be in relationship with Him. And furthermore…
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39 NIV
Nothing, nothing can separate us from that love.
So, what does that mean in the reality of day to day life? Is it just a warm and fuzzy feeling that makes us feel better about ourselves? Or does it make a difference to the way we live our lives?
Have a think…I’ll come back to those questions next week!
Let me know your thoughts