Kind Promise: I will love without keeping score.
I’m a sucker for love. I was raised in the peace-love-and-rock-‘n-roll 1960s as a love-one-another Christian and married my high school sweetheart. “All You Need is Love” was on my youthful playlist. (Except, back then, we called them soundtracks.) Having one of my Kind Promises be about love seems obvious.
I recently participated in a Buddhist “loving kindness meditation” training. In the practice, we recognize that other beings, like us, are motivated by desires for safety, strength, happiness and peacefulness. We have that in common. The teacher made it clear that, while we were wishing various folks all those things, we didn’t actually have to like them, forgive them or want to be around them. Practicing this lovely form of meditation increases my sense of connection and compassion, but those feelings are not quite the love I’m exploring this month.
Biblical Greek identifies four types of love: erotic love (eros), friendship (philia), familial love (strorge) and sacrificial, unconditional love (agape). The rabble-rousing rabbi (Jesus) used agape in that love-one-another commandment. Love them no matter what; want the best for them, even if it hurts me. It seems humanly impossible.
Luckily, humans who have come before us have proved that it’s not so.
- “When one loves, one does not calculate.” — St. Therese of Lisieux
- “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. ” —Mother Teresa
Both those women have serious street cred.
I, on the other hand, watch myself keep score. “I did this for her, but what has she done for me lately? He does all this for me, but I haven’t done much for him.” Instead of practicing love, I find myself practicing indignation and guilt. Foo.
Here is my Mental Response for the month (snagged from my youthful playlist): I’m gonna keep on loving…