The trouble starts because we don't always know how to love one another. To boot, we don't even know what love really is. The idea of love has gotten very confusing. Hollywood entertains us with heart-throbbing experiences of passion. To some, that is love. To others, love means pursuing your personal bliss. To others, love is a universal feeling given freely to all. Until you know what love is, it is very difficult to have love.
The hallmark of true love is that it is stable and secure. True love lasts forever, over a lifetime. True love is love that will stand the test of time. This kind of love is not the romantic feelings you get towards another or the thrill of a new relationship. It has very little to do with passionate sensuality. It has absolutely nothing to do with what you get. In fact, this kind of love isn't the kind of love you receive from another person. It is rather something that you choose to give to another. This kind of love has often been described as a verb, not a feeling. This kind of love is the act of dedication. Scott Peck in "The Road Less Traveled" defines loving another as "The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing ... another's spiritual growth." There is a special word to describe this kind of true everlasting love. It is a word that appears over and over again in the Bible - New Testament and Old. This word is 'adoption.'
When you adopt someone, it means you have chosen and selected them. In the case of adopting a child, adoption means bringing a new being into your family and raising them as though they were your own. When you adopt your beloved, you fully accept them into your life and promise to stick with them through thick and thin. You decide to make them your family. You select and choose to give to this person the best of yourself and everything you have.
Many of us are familiar with this glamorous concept of "The One" - that there is one single, special person out there who we are supposed to spend the rest of our lives with and who will complete us or make us happy. But in truth, "The One" is actually just the one you choose to love with all of your being; the person you freely decide to adopt, to accept, to dedicate yourself to, and to love through good times and bad. Adoption is a special relationship, a relationship that you put before friends and others. It is "The One" you choose to put at the center of your life each and every day. This person doesn't always "make you happy." Instead, you make yourself happy by giving yourself to this person. What makes this type of loving eternal is that you always have the power to give it.
The fruits of this kind of love are satisfaction, peace and contentment. When you have a spirit of adoption with your beloved, you automatically become filled with a passion for generosity. Your life becomes filled with nurture and affection. This spirit of adoption isn't always easy to accomplish. You may not even know how to give your love selflessly. Finally, once you have made the choice to love selflessly, you find yourself in an incredibly vulnerable position. What if the person betrays your love? What if the person doesn't love you in return?
Adoption comes with great personal sacrifices. When you adopt someone, you muster up the strength to recommit to them and the relationship even when it is hard. Even when you feel vulnerable or when you can't justify it rationally, or feel hurt and betrayed. When you adopt someone, you are making a vow to never abandon them. You would never adandon a child after adopting them, would you?
C.S. Lewis defines loving another as never losing the hope that God will bless them. I've always been enamored with this definition of love, because it survives even betrayal and separation. This spirit of adoption is perhaps the best example of God's forgiveness in action. God sees our goodness and potential despite our mistakes and loves us through eternity, not matter how often we betray His love. Adoption means you are committed whether you feel disappointed, discouraged, apathetic, or even downright foolish for loving the person you are with. Each of us are born with the capacity to love in this way.
Are you truly loving the person you are with? To participate in this kind of life and love, you must choose someone special in your life, and make an unconditional commitment to love them. If you are truly loving, chances are your life will be filled with love and happiness. Unconditional love is free from all conditions and strings attached. When I was a boy I remember a quote from a T-shirt, "If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you, it is yours. If it doesn't, it never was." This quote captivated me as child. It captures the essence of unconditional, freely generous love. Here are some other questions you can ask yourself, to test the strength of your love:
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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Thanks for the article!Good read!
A real awakening article. Thank you so much for this great wisdom.