The Lens of Love

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For many, love is a two-sided coin. It can strengthen or stifle, expand or enfeeble, perfect or pauperize. When love is returned, we soar. We are taken to heights unseen, where it delights, invigorates, and beautifies. When love is spurned, we feel crippled, disconsolate, and bereaved. Polish the coin and you will see only requited love on both sides. โ€•Colleen Houck

With any beginning comes an end, and the end of 2013 is vastly approaching. I have been told this was an incredible year. That this was my year. I’m still not quite convinced. Love, my faithful companion, took me on wild and crazy ride – some places I would like to visit again and some I would like to wash away from my memory completely.

Love at the Beach

This year was challenging, grueling, unexpected, demanding, taxing, and relentless. Yet somehow, someway, joy managed to find its way in. This year tested my strength and my resolve. It pulled me out of my comfort zone. Well, I came out kicking and screaming.

Some days I let life get the best of me.

DefeatAnd some days I danced in the rain.
Proof of JoyI carved out space in my life and my perfectly closed heart and allowed my tennis shoe smelling, untidy 18-year-old nephew move in with me. He wrecked my perfectly confined life and my room. Opening up “room” in my life may have been the hardest part of the journey ๐Ÿ™‚

LoganI made peace with the past that I was so desperately trying to escape when I accepted the invitation to my 20 year high school reunion.

20 Year ReunionI soared to the happiest place on earth where my heart was full and overflowing, but the ride was over shortly there after.

DisneyI took risks, I embraced vulnerability and in turn, walls crumbled. I gave when I had nothing left to give. I saw hope where others saw despair. I believed when others told me to give up. I loved my friend at his darkest moment and it nearly destroyed me. I loved and I loved well.

I saw God move in mighty ways and transform lives. He heard my cries. He answered my prayers. I was privileged to see things most people can’t or won’t ever see.ย  I saw promise – a two-fold promise at that ๐Ÿ™‚

rainbowToday, as I unwrap my final gift of this Christmas season, I am reminded of the most important gift I have received – God’s unconditional love. Through painfully loving others, I in turn, learned just how deep God’s love is for me. His love knows no limits. It is patient and kind. It doesn’t brag or boast, and doesn’t keep records of wrong. It is the greatest gift anyone could receive.

Looking through the lens of love, I now see that this was an absolutely incredible year. This was a year of growth and love altered my life for the better. I am now ready to close this painfully hard chapter and begin the next.

2013So cheers to 2014! May you join me and engage the whole world with a conspiracy of love ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Well of Love

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One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving. โ€“ Amy Carmichael

In the year of 2013, a little over a 11 months ago, I set out on a journey to find love. My plans tightly defined consisted of falling in love and living happily ever after. Little did I know that my plans would not unfold as I imagined. Oh, I met a man, but not in the capacity I was hoping for – strong and stable both emotionally and financially. I met a man who was broken in every sense of the word and who desperately needed to be loved. So instead, I found a man to love and not a man to love me.

Anyone who knows me can attest, I either give it my absolute all or nothing. Very rarely do I settle on a lukewarm approach. Through the course of time, a friendship developed, and I began pouring my heart and soul into every fragment of his broken heart and damaged mind. I poured out love financially, spiritually, and emotionally and over time, my efforts began taking a tole on me. The demands of my job were just as intense and I was reaching my breaking point. Something had to give.

Through it all, I kept thinking once he gets back on his feet emotionally and financially, then he would replenish what was taken. That time came and went, and the well was still running low. When my wishful thinking did not work, I began verbally sending stress signals. I need this…I need that…Still nothing.

In spite of my warnings and distress calls, he kept coming back taking what little was left. Maybe he kept coming back out of habit. Maybe the need was greater than I could sense and he needed more. Whatever the case may be, the well could not sustain itself and collapsed taking me down with it.

I know him and I know him very well. He’ll get thirsty again and he will try and stop at the well for a drink. Only this time, the well will be gone. Sadly, there is nothing more to give.

Whatever happens at that point is out of my control. I can only hope and pray that he will finally realize what the well has been trying to teach him all along. Maybe he will finally realize just how important love is and without it, he would not be standing where he is today. Maybe then, he will realize that you cannot simply take, that you must also give. No matter what condition your love is in, you give and you give whole heartedly.

There is a world full of hurting people, including myself, and maybe all we need is one drink, maybe one visit from the well. As I close out this chapter of love, I hope that in the next chapter he begins to pour out all the love he has received so that love does not have to stop here.

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