Love comes in many forms – as many as the number of humans that have ever lived.
Agape – or unconditional love – is an ideal form of love. It is the perfect, all forgiving love of parents for their children. But even the most devoted mother or father falls short of perfection.
We may search our whole lives for the perfect soul mate – one whom we love without judgment or reservation, one who loves us the same perfect way, but we will never find that perfection because we are each human.
We must accept and appreciate love just as we have received it in all its human imperfection.
It is through us that God’s love is received . . . and expressed. It is in our lives, through our actions, in our words and in our relationships that divine love is manifest. But, of course, we are human – imperfect, frail and fallible. We do not see clearly – our selves or others. We love imperfectly and we do not fully appreciate the love that we receive.
But that is how we experience love – divine love, unconditional love, compassion and grace – filtered by the passions and hunger of our bodies, clouded by our limited minds and narrowed by our little selves.
We must not only love the ones we’re with. We must accept the love we have been given.
This morning, my thoughts began with a prayer of appreciation for God’s love in my life – in the past and in the present, as I have received it, partly through the grace of the events and circumstances of my life and the gifts I have received but primarily through my important relationships.
I am thankful for love – perfect and unconditional – as manifest and expressed in my imperfect relationships. I accept and appreciate that love as expressed by my wife in our long relationship, in her concern and care for me, our home and our children. I appreciate the love of each of my children, the experiences we have shared as they have grown, as I have grown with them and we have all learned, in our shared adventures, challenges and memories, in the rituals and routine of our everyday lives that seem endless but really are not. These moments are fleeting and precious.
I appreciate divine love through my relationships with my parents, each expressing love in our own ways, with my sister and with my brother.
I am thankful for the love received and expressed in my deepest friendships. I am grateful for the gift of my work – and the opportunity to express unconditional love in the care of my patients.