A good friend of mine asked me recently if I had ever felt loved. I have to admit the question stopped me cold and has been haunting me this whole week. It’s hard to understand and I can’t explain but it seems such an arrogant thing to say that I have not. Even now as I write the words it seems a sorry thing to say because I don’t want pity or consolation or even undue attention because of it. But it’s more than that – I have a good life: I live at home and my parents leave me alone, they’ve given me a lot of what I’ve ever asked for and I don’t mind admitting that they’ve spoiled me, I have a car, I play in a cool band, I have a college degree that my parents paid for…in short, I’ve got all the stuff I need. How can I say that I’ve never felt loved?
But love isn’t about stuff. I guess giving me things is how my parents express their love for me – I know they’ve tried to give me all the opportunities that they never had – but (and I’m sorry to say this) it never felt like love to me. Saying that makes me feel like a greedy, ungrateful bastard, and I suppose that’s true. And I suppose that’s also why it’s so hard to admit.
What about God? Now that I think about it, the way I’ve tried to love God was to try and give him stuff. By extension, the love I expected from God was to get stuff. But that’s not how love works, it’s not what love is. As I understand it, love is a kind of unselfish generosity that seeks out the best for the one loved – a generosity that is not a transaction (a trade, an exchange) but rather an unselfish kind of giving that expects nothing in return except the joy of the other.
Anyway, if I can discipline myself (and don’t run out of balls), I’ll be tring to flesh out these ideas here.