Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Love as Painful

Although falling in love is easy, loving is hard. As I face this Christmas season, I am struck by how painful love is.

I mean, of course, the time devoted to giving and caring for others in need as well as the patient listening, the reaching out to others when the comfortable thing is to satisfy the self.

My wife Lynn, who gives her time and attention, to a dozen or more friends, most of them in some form of distress, is the embodiment of such caring, and she is worn out from all the work. And our entertaining, and the arrival of Christmas, is yet to come. The season of joy and peace on earth is for most parents a  time of stress.

It may be a joy to give but the kind of giving Lynn does year-round, and millions like her, is not always a joy. Even my daily sessions with a high school boy preparing him for college are reminders of how difficult reaching out can be. Being patient with a restless adolescent whose moods change hourly is an exercise in painful love.

Often, the recipient of our caring expresses no gratitude, yet it is important to give anyway since it is the right thing to do.  Those familiar with the New Testament know what I mean: to love thy neighbor as thyself or to love thy enemies is tough, nearly impossible.

In this season of love, I am mindful of all those who volunteer their time to make Christmas happen not just for their families but for the homeless, the sick and disabled, the residents of nursing homes and those who are without love. And I hope all who read this can find happiness and inner peace beneath all the busyness of this wonderful season. 

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