"Put love where there is no love and you will find love."
I came across this quote recently from St. John of the Cross. It so captures all that I have learned over the past year and hope to put into practice moreso in this coming year.
There are a few people in my life who have made it so hard for me to love them. And yet. And yet I've seen miracles happen in my relationships with them that I have prayed for over the years. This year seemed to be my year of answered prayers. And if I learned one thing, it is this: Sometimes you just have to love someone where they are. They may not be where you want them to be. They may be selfish, or narcissistic, or just plain mean. But sometimes, even when someone is incapable of appreciating unconditional love, you can still love them. And this doesn't mean that you should go back for more abuse, or go out of your way to please them, or include them in your inner circle of Important People. This doesn't mean letting those boundaries down around the toxic people in your life. What this means is that you can offer kindness in every encounter, regardless of the other person's spiritual/emotional condition. You can go home knowing you did the right thing, knowing that you didn't add to the problem, that someday maybe they'll even recognize and appreciate the fact that you didn't aggravate the situation even when you had the chance.
This weekend, one of my closest family members visited. He hasn't come to see me or my son in over two years. We talk on the phone regularly, but I rarely see him, and his life has been one self-destructive decision after another. He's lost, and not always capable of loving me the way I love him, but I know that in his heart, he wants to love and be loved. I can't change his decisions, I can't change his lifestyle, and I can't change the fact that he hasn't always prioritized me the way I feel he should. But I can put love where there's been no love, and ever so slowly, I'm finding love.
4 months ago