Love is service, not emotion

Love for many is elusive.  We find infatuation quickly and jump into relationships based upon infatuation while professing we have found true love.  True love exists however few understand what this is.

Infatuation makes our hearts beat faster and our minds to go to mush as we get caught up in a whirlwind romance often driven by the flames of physical passion and desire.  We crave the burning chemical rush from the flames of this passion and believe we have found our soulmates.  We come from a space where our own needs and physical desires are met.  These self serving emotions are just as quickly snuffed out and we are left wondering what went wrong.  There is no foundation for infatuation, it is fleeting and built from nothing.  Infatuation hits quickly and dies faster.  We pick up the broken pieces left over from our crushed expectations and move on to the next adrenaline rush of emotions believing this time it will be different.

The world sees this as love.  We hear continually that one can fall out of love.  I argue this is impossible.  One cannot fall out of love.  We fall out of infatuation.

Love is different.  When love is real it is service.  It is kindness.  It is compassion.  It is not self serving and driven by the whims of change.  It is not fleeting and it does not die.  For when love is real, our desire is to serve others that we love, not for them to serve us.

YES we can love someone whom does not love us back.  This is common and happens often.  The greatest love stories are those that both parties have placed the others needs before there own.  They serve one another.

There are many stories told of couples when one becomes ill and the other one steps up to serve them and care for them.   It is clear that their bond and love they share grows during these difficult and trying times.  Their love grows during this season of service and caring.

We often hear of a mothers love for her children. WHY?  Because when the children are young they are fully dependent upon their mother.  Their mother loves them and this love grows as they continue to serve them.  Children learn to love their mothers as they in turn serve their mother as they grow.  Children desire to please their parents and in so doing they serve them, this service develops love.

There are many that will argue that in just as many cases that one person serves while the other one takes.  While this is true, look at the one that is always the one that is the most heartbroken when a relationship ends.  It is ALWAYS the one that served and gave the most to the relationship.

True undying mutual love can only be attained when both parties make the other a priority and serve them without expecting anything in return.  True love is service.

Anyone who goes to a foreign country to serve for any reason always comes back with a love for the people and culture in which they served.

If you are struggling in your relationships and wonder where the magic went, try genuinely serving each other and be amazed at where this will lead.

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Love and Trust as Little Children

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Children are born with absolute trust and faith in their parents.  We as parents may or may not be deserving of such trust yet it is granted along with love unconditionally by these precious and tender souls.  A child’s trust can never grow stronger than it is at birth, for it is perfect trust.    The trust, love and loyalty of children are given fully and completely. It is in our actions as parents and not that of the child that will alter that trust, and nothing else.

As parents, we can continue to be deserving of that trust so completely placed in us at their birth that can last throughout our children’s lives, depending upon our actions. Our actions and not our children’s are critical for the continuation of that trust.  A child will not stop trusting until we violate such trust, in fact I have witnessed many times how a child continues to trust even after repeated violations of that trust.  Children are forgiving and loving, they desire the same.  As we break the trust of our children, through our actions, words and deeds, it will permanently damage our children and their ability to form trusting relationships as adults.  If we as parents destroy this amazing gift from our children, we create significant road blocks in their lives as they learn to trust others.

We are the first relationship that a child will have in this world, the magnitude of this is lost on so many.  We set the stage for our children and their emotional well being from they day they are conceived.  We determine if our child will feel loved and secure, or if they will live with uncertainty, fear and distrust.

This point has been driven home ever more deeply with the birth of our precious little girl.  The past year we have been more aware of our promises to all of our children, the way we talk with them and our interactions with them.  Unfortunately I have no doubt that as parents we have made some mistakes along the way and most certainly reduced the trust of our children.  Thankfully for us, children are deeply forgiving and loving, they give us more chances to be better and to learn from our past mistakes. 

As we recognize this extremely wonderful, unconditional love and trust from our children, we too can learn to love and trust as they do.  Our children are greater teachers than we could ever become.

What We See In Color, Others See In Black and White

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Our lives are colorful. Vivid and radiant colors that penetrate the depths of our souls through our life experiences and challenges.  Many times the color with which our lives are lived, while clear to ourselves are seen in black and white terms by those around us.  The judgments of others are oftentimes cast in a cut and dry, black and white application for everyone else, while at the same time expecting others to see the color in their own lives prior to casting their judgments upon us.

It is my experience that others who like to judge in such a way are typically ones with whom their lives have been experienced in black and white terms and are therefore unable to see the color that exists for others and the choices they make.  Harsh judgments, when cast upon others indicate a weakness of vision for the one judging.  They are typically incapable of seeing or understanding that not all lives are the same and cannot be seen through the same lens.

There are individuals whom spend inordinate amount of their time gossiping and judging others and the decisions and choices that others make for their own lives.  These individuals who judge, on the outside appear to have it all together, yet they actually suffer from such deep and often hidden insecurities about themselves that they deflect those feelings onto others through the judgments they make.  These judgments made through a black and white lens actually  represent hidden discouragement at some failed endeavor.

Conversely, those with whom their lives and experiences have color to them and are not cut and dry generally tend to be more forgiving and compassionate individuals.  They spend more time serving and donating their time to worthy causes.  The color that challenges and heartache bring into ones life allows them to see others and the world that they live in a much clearer manner.  They see others for whom they are and not what they think they should be.

If your life is lived through black and white lens it’s time to examine your own life with the same scrutiny that you examine others and their lives.   Life is meant to be lived in color, not black and white.

My Hospital Visit with a Dear Friend

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I spent part of evening yesterday visiting with a lifelong friend in the hospital.  His stay was a short one, overnight, yet he works out of town and we don’t visit often, other than the occasional text message or Facebook correspondence. I have known this friend for over 30 years, back to our school days and our lives have crossed paths many times as life has taken us in different directions. I sent him a message Tuesday to let him know that I thinking about him and hoped that the surgery would go well. Late yesterday afternoon after he had gotten to his room he messaged me to let me know how we was. After exchanging a few messages he told me he would love to see me and to come up.  Without hesitation I told him i would be up to visit.

I live about 45 minutes away so the drive there provided me much time to ponder and reflect upon my friend and our lives.  As young men we were both very driven and motivated. Our lives were very similar and we shared similar dreams and ideas about our lives and our future.  The paths we took in life started on a very similar path, we graduated from high school together, we both left to serve missions for our church.  Upon returning we began school, working and started our families.  As life became busy as it often does, we would go years without talking only to run into each other and pick things up where they left off.  Friendships like this don’t ever die, they continue regardless of what life brings.

My friend and I reconnected years ago through a devastating and deeply personal loss of his.  I did everything that I could to be there for him and to help him while knowing I could in reality do nothing.  This was going to take a lifetime and all I could do is love and care for him,which I have tried to do yet I know I have stumbled in this area many times for him.  I wish I could have been a better support for him in his time of need.

We discovered as we reconnected the similarities in our lives with our struggles and challenges we had faced.  We each had very different and unique obstacles before us, yet the pain of divorce, the lies and the deception of ex spouses, the fight for our rights as a father and other challenges were eerily similar.  We handled these issues in different manners, we had grown apart in our social, political and religious views throughout this time when we hadn’t been around one another, finding ourselves in many levels on the extreme opposite sides of some of the most divisive issues our country is facing.

As I drove to the hospital I thought about the irony of this, here was one of my closest lifelong friends I have ever known.  This was a man that I knew without doubt or hesitation I could call on a moments notice for help and he would give me the last shirt off his back or his last meal to help me.  Our friendship has never been threatened or challenged as a result of our differing opinions and beliefs.  While visiting in the hospital we discussed briefly some of these explosive issues, ones that usually would cause extreme arguments, in this case we always respect the others opinion and agree that we will never agree on these issues. There were no arguments, only discussion as we talked about them.  The fact is that he has been one of the best friends I have ever known, certainly the most loyal.

As we talked, a comment he made resonated deep within me, it all revolves around compromise.  He said that if we were the last 2 families left on the earth and we needed to build a home for our families and we only had time to build one home, we would never agree what needed to be in the home, yet we would build one that would meet both of our families needs because our families needed it.  We are very similar this way, we will both put the needs of others ahead of our own.  We compromise.

Imagine the problems that could be solved with compromise, compassion and friendship.  The chasms that separate families, communities, friends, and this nation would all disappear with true compromise and placing others needs before our own.  To my dear friend I say, thank you for the time yesterday and for your lifetime of friendship.  There is no distance too great between those who care for each other.