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Lesson on Loving

Not long ago, a friend asked if I truly knew what love felt like.  Of course I do, I blurted. I have children – two beautiful children who I love with all of me and who I would do anything to please. It’s this unconditional love that so many of my generation seem to be incapable of when it comes to relationships of our own because most of us didn’t receive it in a meaningful way from our parents.

Oh sure, Moms and Dads, you loved us. You loved us when it was convenient…when we made you proud. You loved us when we played the perfect tune at the piano recital on those warm summer Sunday afternoons – when all the parents clapped and cooed and commented how much talent they thought we had. You loved us when all we wanted to do was ride in the van with you to work early each day throughout summer vacations and every Saturday so we could sit and stare at you in awe as you performed your job. So we could sweep the shop floor and enjoy an Orange Crush from the pop cooler when you finally locked up for the day. You loved us in your own way. But you missed loving our imperfections.

And now, as parents ourselves, we try to be better than you when it comes to loving our kids for who they are – down to their very last imperfection, which, when you examine it closely is one atom of one cell and barely exists at all. And it’s beautiful because it’s part of us. They’re our daughters and sons and we love them like nothing else.

And while we have this learned ability to love our children, we still hiccup when it comes to our own loving relationships with our girlfriends and spouses. There are two ends of the continuum we find ourselves attempting to balance in our own romantic lives. The first is the overcompensation in which we love completely and fully. The second is the skeptical side that tells us no matter what we do we aren’t worthy – thanks to years of trying to please and never getting the approval.

Finding the proper fulcrum, that balance where loving and being loved results in bliss is reserved for only the handful who strive hard and make the effort…who seek it and find someone who is also seeking (and willing) to risk falling down, getting up and trying again.

It’s one of those imperfections you may not have loved so much Mom and Dad – our awkwardness, our stumbles, our stutters – but it’s one we’re willing to employ so we can love our lives and ourselves and someone else more completely.

-end-

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