Love is also difficult because of our fear of the reaction (or lack thereof) of the one loved. Rich Mullins described it better than I ever could, so I'll just defer to him:
"God calls us to 'be strong' and we mistake that for a call to omnipotence. We confuse strength to endure trials with an ability to walk unfrustrated through life. We convince ourselves that if we were strong we would never fail, never tire, never hurt, never need. We begin to measure strength in terms of ease of progress, equate power with success, endurability with invincibility, and inevitably, when our illusion of omnipotence is shattered, we condemn ourselves for being weak.
"God has called us to be lovers and we frequently think that He meant us to be saviors. So we 'love' as long as we see 'results.' We give of ourselves as long as our investments pay off, but if the ones we love do not respond, we tend to despair and blame ourselves and even resent those we pretend to love. Because we love someone, we want them to be free of addictions, of sin, of self--and that is as it should be. But it might be that our love for them and our desire for their well-being will not make them well. And if that is the case, their lack of response no more negates the reality of love than their quickness to respond would confirm it.
"Love is a virtue and not a feeling. It is fed and fired by God--not by the favorable response of the beloved. Even when it doesn't seem to make a dime's worth of difference to the ones on whom it is lavished, it is still the most prized of all virtues because it is at the heart of the very character of God."
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Love w/out Reaction, Condition
Fr. Stephen Freeman has, in his usual, peaceful style, put together a great post entitled, "Why is Love so Difficult?" I encourage you to read the post itself, but I thought I'd duplicate my entry in the combox here: