The paradox in love

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“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.”   —  Mother Teresa

I have often pulled these gentle words out as a reminder, and this morning as a companion to the truth.   Love is indeed a beautiful thing.  I believe it is one, if not THE greatest gift in our lives, in my life.  To love someone brings out the best in us.   Self centeredness and selfishness turns into a broadening of our sights, unselfishly we want to do all that we can to bring happiness, support to the person we love.  Love can transform us, can heal us, can change us.  Love is a gift, a choice, an opportunity for us to commit to someone other than ourselves.  It’s possibilities, potentials are unlimited. 

To BE loved is a beautiful thing as well.  A mothers or fathers love differs from a siblings, as does a friends, or that of a lover/spouse/partner.  I believe all are important for us to be well rounded, adjusted, accepting of true love.  Falling in love is magical, or is that lust?  I do know that if someone truly loves you their love does not wane in sickness or health.  Lust?  Probably does.  I dated a guy who I was with when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.  He brought me to my lumpectomy, dropped me off at home, I never saw him again.  I’m laughing now, at the time, not.  He was angry that I didn’t drive down to see him that weekend.  The guy did me a huge favor.  That wasn’t love, that was selfishness.  I deserved better than that.  The next week when I went for my post op exam, told my Dr what had happened she frowned and said “You would be surprised how often it happens, even in long term marriages”.  How sad.

Visiting with my cousin a few weeks ago he shared about a friend who had a back injury and the spouse left them, they didn’t want to take care of someone the rest of their life.  I just shook my head.  I have witnessed some incredibly strong and loving relationships, devotion to spouses who are sick.  Thankfully my sister had this when she took ill with Ovarian Cancer.   While I did not agree with everything that was done, I am so very grateful that she was loved and taken care of in the manner that she was.   A woman I loved very much, Linda, who was like a second  mom to me growing up died of breast cancer.  Her husband was very devoted to her throughout her whole ordeal, right to the end.  Just a couple days ago I visited with a friend who is on hospice who has a very loving and faithful, devoted husband.  She has been fighting breast cancer for 9.5 years, has had 3 other chronic illnesses for a few years longer than that.  She knows how fortunate she is to have a loving, faithful, supportive husband.    He is also fortunate to have married such an extraordinary woman.

The pain we feel when we lose someone is indescribable.  Everyone grieves differently.  For some it is too painful to speak of the person, for others it is important that they talk about them daily, look at pictures, share their memories.   What I have learned about grieving is, there is no right or wrong way to grieve unless we are hurting ourselves or someone else.  There is no escaping the pain, the only way around it is thru it.   I don’t think you ever fully get over the loss, but time helps you learn how to live with it, it becomes a bit easier.  This is now where Mother Teresa’s quote has such significant meaning to me.  I have learned that if you walk through that pain it gets better, and you get your loved one back through memories, wonderful memories.   My very sweet friend Judy said to me a couple of weeks ago “Donna, your memories are yours, no one can take them from you”.  As basic as that sounds, it helped me.  I realized I do not need anyone to validate what someone meant to me, or what I meant to them, nor do I need to justify or explain myself.  My past is mine, my memories both good and bad are mine.  I do not live in my past, it is impossible to go back in time, but I have to tell you, I have some wonderful memories of those who I have loved and lost.  Sometimes I still cry when I think about them, the missing never stops, but it sure does feel good to be able to think of  them, something stupid or comical we did and laugh, smile, and if I desire, share with someone.  Thus the paradox….then there is no hurt, only more love!

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