Thursday, November 22, 2007
Exercising your love muscle
I haven't worked out in probably 3 months. I am not looking forward to starting up again, but Monday is the day. Anyway, it is tough getting into shape. You recognize how you have been a slug, and your body rebels. It hurts for a while, but ultimately once you get into shape it is great. You look forward to your workout each day. But until you decide to do it and then stick to it, your muscles will always hurt because you are always starting over again. Once it becomes a pattern in your life, it is easy.
Love is like that. If you always love people who are easy to love, it is like sitting on the couch all day. You never push yourself, and anytime you are confronted by someone who is in any way difficult to be with or to love, it "hurts" and it is hard. Perhaps people have poor social skills, or are unkind or make demands on you because of some need they have. Your choice is to say, "This is too hard, I quit" or to stick with it and like exercising a muscle, it begins to get easier.
I can tell you that after 30 years of befriending persons with cognitive disabilities, loving them is much easier for me than it would be if I had never had any interactions with people with such differences. The answer is to be with people with differences as you will be stretched. You will learn to love people who may be different than the typical. You will grow and develop and over time it will get easier.
But for love to happen, the decision has to be made that I am going to love other people even if it is difficult for me. If I am committed, over time it will get easier...it is a principle that can be counted on.