Karla’s Korner: Degrees of Love
Degrees of Love …
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice”. Often love is thought of as romantic, filled with passion, physical desires, excitement and lavishness when it, is more often rather than not found in the ordinary often mundane-ness of life. The little things done in the name of what I call “lower case” love make up the big things in “capital letter” Love. When reflecting on the many great and not so great loves I’ve witnessed, shared and hoped for in my own life, Fitzgerald’s words ring true. Each person, each relationship cultivates within us the potential for great love, the opportunity to fill our souls, bring joy and not only receive but give meaningful, purposeful love to others. Love can be measured in degrees I think.
While the greatest and longest love in my own heart belongs to my husband, there is no shortage of varying types or degrees of love filling the deep corners of my heart. It is within these loves that make life complete. Is romantic love the be all end all to life? Is romantic, physical love with our spouse or life partner all we need? The answer I believe is “no”. Much like the ingredients to the best most delicious cake you will ever taste, our lives should be filled with many loves, ingredients if you will, to make it complete. It is our responsibility to honor those loves openly, honestly and completely.
So what are those varying types of love? How do we identify them? How are they defined in our lives; keeping in mind that each one is defined uniquely for each of us? I share a few examples from my life, my heart knowing that these are my experiences and mine alone; what love looks like to me.
*The love a parent has for their child should always be unconditional. While we like to think this is a given, often it is not. I have fallen short, have worked on it and in that work have learned the value, benefits and ability to love my children unconditionally even in times of uncertainty. They have taught me unconditional love; the child teaches the parent.
*Sibling love is unique. Being a sibling does not always guarantee a storybook, motion picture kind of love. Being born into a family does not guarantee a storybook kind of sibling love. Those loves require work and time to cultivate. Whether the bond, the love between siblings is deep rooted or distant it is never okay to ignore it, rather acknowledge its existence and importance in your life appreciating the degree in which it rests in your heart. Sibling love can be beautiful, complicated or beautifully complicated; it is, however real.
*The love between our chosen family, those we choose to love and do life with is often deeper, stronger and more profound than genetic love. Chosen relationships are just that, chosen and in making the decision to choose to love, to be in a relationship with another human being, we accept the responsibility to cultivate, nurture and grow in that love. The love I have for my chosen, those who I consider brothers and sisters is unique to each one. The ability to share a joke, store, heart ache or victory openly and safely is one of the greatest examples of love. These chosen relationships bring great substance that feeds our souls. My life is blessed with a select few of these chosen relationships and it is because of those relationships my heart knows what deep love feels like.
* The love we have for others, those not necessarily connected to us genetically, intimately or socially rather in passing through our lives is an important element of a life of love. Giving our time and talents willingly expecting nothing in return as we serve others and our communities, I believe is a reflection, a combination of the many loves we share collectively; a bi-product if you will. Living life and loving our world, our neighbors and strangers alike is just the right thing to do. We are, I believe, created to love genuinely and completely.
*The last but certainly not least love is the love we have for ourselves. Without self-love I don’t believe we can truly love another. Accepting ourselves for whom we are, where we are as we pursue who we want to be and where we want to go in love allows u to experience love with others. We cannot truly, genuinely love others without first genuinely loving ourselves. Self-care and self-love, both physical and spiritual is the greatest gift of love we can give ourselves. The American non-profit group To Write Love On Her Arms posted the following quote on the website recently: “You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to know and be known. You need to know your story is important and your part of a bigger story. You need to know your life matters.” While these words were written to provide hope for those who struggle, I believe we can all benefit from them. I encourage you to examine the many loves in your lives. Take time to appreciate each relationship and degree of love to which each provides because in the end love never fails. Love wins.
I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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