Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love, our self-esteem weakens. Without it, our courage fails. Without love, we can no longer look confidently at the world. We turn inward and begin to feed upon our own personalities, and little by little we destroy ourselves. With it we are creative. With it, we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others.-Chief Dan George
I believe very strongly that when Chief Dan George says that we must have love, he’s not talking only about being loved, about other people giving us love. Rather he’s talking about the love that we have inside of ourselves, the love that we feel for the rest of the world–all things and creatures in it–and the love that we can share with others. If I have no love to share, if I don’t allow myself to feel love for others, then my life becomes an empty, desolate place in which I slowly destroy myself.
How do we get the love to share if we don’t feel it now? I don’t think that it’s a question of “getting” anything, but rather a question of letting it out. Love is inside of us–we’re all born with it, and we can’t be without it. Many of us, though, learn early in life how to block it off, how to keep it inside of ourselves so that we don’t ever face the risk of being hurt. It doesn’t work, of course, because we end up getting hurt anyway, but we try nonetheless.
Holding our love inside, though, is much the same as having a large bag of bread that we could use to feed many people or that we could keep closed and hidden from view, keeping it all to ourselves so that no one can steal it from us. And while we may keep others from stealing it, very soon one of two things will happen to the bread: it will get very hard and become inedible, or it will get moldy and disgusting and inedible. Either way, the bread’s potential–to feed people and become energy for their bodies–has been lost.
I would like to think that my love’s potential one day will be reached. I still have a hard time sharing it, for I have a hard time convincing myself that others want it, but I do try, and I get a little better at it with each week that passes. But I know that the love I feel for others is one of the most important aspects of my life, and I hope to continue to share it more and more each day.
Questions to consider:
Do you find it easy to feel love for others, or difficult?
Can you share the love you feel?
Are other people generally very good at receiving the love that we give them?
How can we distinguish “love” from “romantic love”?
For further thought:
Genuine caring love is like a tree that is mature.
It does not get uprooted by every passing wind or feeling of change.
It develops with time a strong root structure.
It sends out sturdy branches.
It can survive dry spells.