The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.”
“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”—Kahlil Gibran
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a beautiful garden on a warm and bright summer day, with singing birds and colorful butterflies propelling themselves from flower to flower in search of the sweetest pollen. How does such a scene make you feel? Does it stimulate feelings of happiness, tranquility, and peace of mind? It does for me.
Now open your eyes and reflect on those feelings for a moment. Then, close your eyes again and imagine the very same garden on a cold and dark winter day. The flowers are all dead, there are no butterflies, and the only bird you hear is a scolding blue jay. How do you feel in this setting? Do you still feel happy and tranquil? I’m guessing that you do not.
What you have just experienced is probably the closest we can come to making an analogy to the difference between a life filled with love and a life where love is absent. Love is the sunshine of life. Where love abounds, there will be happiness, tranquility, and peace of mind, except during those times when these feelings are overwhelmed by personal tragedy. Where love is absent, there will likely be feelings of emptiness, anxiety, and darkness.
The difference between a life filled with love and a life where love is lacking is very much like the difference between a warm, sunny summer day and a bleak winter day. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.”
Noted psychologist, Dr. Joyce Brothers, said, “Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.” When you love a person, that person’s happiness is absolutely essential to your own happiness. You care as much, or more, about the other person’s happiness as you do about your own. You don’t try to make a clone of yourself out of them. You love them for who they are and don’t try to change them to be more like yourself. You give to a person whom you love without necessarily expecting them to give you something in return.
I think some people probably go through life without ever realizing what true love really is. They tend to confuse romantic love, which is passionate affection of one person for another, based in part on sexual attraction, with the broader concept of love which Webster’s dictionary defines as, “A deep and tender feeling of affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or person’s.” True love includes a feeling of brotherhood and good will toward others, and a devout attachment to God. Mother Teresa said of true love, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Copyright 2015 Allen W. Smith