Thursday, May 26, 2011

On Giving & Receiving Love Freely

The following is an excerpt from The Inner Voice Of Love, a book/journal by Henri Nouwen. Afterward I will make a few comments:

Give Gratuitously

"Your love, insofar as it is from God, is permanent. You can claim the permanence of your love as a gift from God. And you can give that permanent love to others. When others stop loving you, you do not have to stop loving them. On a human level, changes might be necessary, but on the level of the divine, you can remain faithful to your love.

One day you will be free to give gratuitous love, a love that does not ask for anything in return. One day also you will be free to receive gratuitous love. Often love is offered to you, but you do not recognize it. You discard it because you are fixed on receiving it from the same person to whom you gave it.

The great paradox of love is that precisely when you have claimed yourself as God's beloved child, have set boundaries to your love, and thus contained your needs, you begin to grow into the freedom to give gratuitously."


I want to hone in on Nouwen's second last paragraph where he says a couple of things. Firstly, he states that one day we will be free to give a gratuitous love, one that does not ask for anything in return. I think that this can take a long time for some of us, to be able to give love without any type of hidden agenda. Sometimes those agendas are known to us, some are deep in our subconscious. Still, there can be reasons or expectations that we have when we give love to people. Perhaps we are trying to fill a sense of inadequacy in ourselves, maybe we are trying to get over a failed relationship. And we think the best way to be healed is for someone to love us, and in order to obtain that we must try to love them. If you do this, don't beat yourself up over it, millions of people have done it. But now you're conscious of it and can break free from the bad habit. You can move onto a purer love, one that has no strings attached. It is a love where you truly are thinking solely of the other person's well-being.

The second point that Nouwen makes is that we often don't recognize love because it comes from someone we didn't expect it to come from. We can become so fixated on one person or one experience for our source of love that we become blinded. Nouwen suggests that we give our love away gratuitously, selflessly, without need of being loved in return by the person or persons we gave our love to. This is where trust in God comes in. If we indeed fully trust in Spirit, we can know we are held in Her embrace and that someway, somehow, Love will find us. Yes, Love will fill us to overflowing. We are no longer tied to just one or two sources of love. This is an abundant Universe and Love comes to us in a multitude of ways.

Blessings on you today,

Mark Andrew