I was thinking about an old friend who had never been married. We’re all over 50 now and she had been distraught because she hadn’t found love — that she’s never been married or had kids. At one point, I felt really bad for her. “Poor Sheila,” I thought. I’ve been married and divorced three times and engaged a number of times. And there my poor friend, Sheila, was waiting to find love — half a century of trying to find happiness.
Love doesn’t need to be ‘found’. It isn’t lost. It isn’t something that has to ‘come’ to us. It isn’t something that we have to acquire. It isn’t something that someone else has to bring to us.
We are the embodiment of love.
Our very existence is love.
We were created with love (if you believe in creationism).
If you don’t believe in creationism, then the whole idea or purpose of evolution is survival. Survival is all about self-preservation. Self preservation is ‘the need to exist.’ For ‘love’ of self, you exist.
Love is the very essence of who we are.
It doesn’t need to be found. It exists within us. And, although it is something inherent, most of us spend a lifetime trying to discover it.
Love, because it is a natural part of our being, is often thought to be something that can only come externally. If we think about air — oxygen — we can’t see it or touch it or feel it (unless it is harnessed). Yet, it is always there, giving us breath. Allowing us to breathe. Feeding our cells. Fueling our bodies. It’s such a normal and integral part of our existence that we don’t give it a second thought. We don’t contemplate it, seek it out, wish for it, wonder where to find it. No… we expect it. We count on it always being there, even as we take our last breath. Why does love have to be any different?
Thinking about Sheila’s issue, I began to consider these things for myself. Having been married three times, I thought I had “found” love and happiness. I thought I had arrived at my destination. Joy would soon follow. But it didn’t. I experienced some of the gravest unhappiness while being married. And, as far as love was concerned, the main reason why I felt so unhappy was because I didn’t feel loved. I began to spiral into depression. Nobody loved me…. That’s what I thought. I wondered if that’s what Sheila thought.
I stopped taking care of myself and my weight ballooned to a number I’m ashamed to share. I had no drive or energy. I couldn’t do the things I used to love doing because moving my body expended all of my energy. But somewhere deep inside of me, self love was crying out. It kept telling me “I’m here. I’ve always been here. You just didn’t believe it.”
Love and happiness aren’t items to be captured and added to our treasure chest. It is a part of us just like our heart and brain and lungs. It’s a part of us just like the veins and arteries and capillaries that deliver our blood to our organs and tissues.
Love isn’t some idea that only the worthy get to experience.
We so often put limitations and conditions on love — like the engraved notification on an elevator “Maximum capacity 2000 pounds.” Or like the “use by” date on perishable goods.
Love doesn’t have limitations and expiration dates. Love doesn’t set conditions.
Love’s capacity is unlimited — infinite!
My friend Sheila is at peace (and so am I). She only wishes she had had children. But with a host of nieces and nephews, she’s happy with that.