Saturday, March 19, 2011

Love: Experience, Judgment, Awareness, Gift

I am an intense person. It is midnight and I am still intent on punching out an entry for the day. This is especially important because I am taking the next two days off: tomorrow is St. Joseph's Day and that is a holiday for me and my family. So what can I say tonight? What am I trying to do when I blog? I am trying to give of myself, because as a human being I am impelled by the urgent desire to offer what I am and have--as a human being I want to love. I am also trying to open myself up and show myself and ask to be loved, because I am a human being and I need to be loved. I want to love and to be loved. I want love. And I don't want it to be fake. This means I want truth. And I don't want it to be boring. This means I want beauty.

This is why I am writing tonight. This is why I write every night. This is why I do every thing.

I say this not as a theory, but as a judgment. I know that this is true. I know that the motor of my life is love. It is a judgment drawn from experience. My humanity is alive inside me because I have been loved. The experience of being loved awakens the human heart. The difference between living a human life and living a life of desperation is the awareness of being loved. And this awareness is grounded on, and continually nourished by, the experience of being loved.

It began in childhood. I have had problems, and sicknesses, and mental distress since childhood. But these are the consequence of illness. Beneath them all was the radical security that came from being loved by my parents. As I came to maturity, I met people who loved me--sometimes in very simple ways--and I grew. I finally met a woman who loved me with a love that embraced me in a way I didn't deserve, to which I wasn't entitled, and which I could not earn. It was a gift. Beyond attraction and common interest and sympathy of personality there was that radically undeserved love, a love that could not be grasped, but only received according to the form of a gift, within the space created by a gift in return. And so we were married.

It was the great sign that radical, undeserved, gratuitous love was the foundation and sustenance of my life.

I need this sign to continually manifest itself, if I am to remain convinced in the reality of my heart that I have been created to love and to be loved. Every day I need to place myself in the position of receptivity to the love of my wife, and my children. I must acknowledge my need, my poverty, and that my capacity to give is founded on the fact that I am a gift. I am hungry and my wife makes pasta, because she loves me. The kids want me to read them a story, or help them with their work, not just because of their own needs because they want me. They love me. Why am I wanted? Why are there these people in my life who say to me, "it is good that you are you, that you exist"?

They are witnesses that I am created by love, that I am given to myself in love, that I am worthy. And this engenders in me the desire to give myself, because goodness wants to be shared, to be given away. It is not afraid of being lost. And so I am writing, in the confidence that these words are a gift, even if only a fragile one. I want to tell you that it is good that you exist. I know that. And I want you to experience it, and be sustained by it.

Let us love one another....