There is a life-altering gift emerging from my family’s recent challenges, and it is a gift I am receiving with an open heart and deep gratitude.
I am learning what REAL love is—what it looks like, how it acts, how it moves.
You see, I used to cringe at the concept of “sacrificial love”—particularly that of the various Christian traditions that I was exposed to through the years. I interpreted this sacrifice as sacrificing one’s own happiness for the sake of another’s…which would add up to nobody actually being happy in the end. This kind of love sounded dis-empowering to me and at the heart of a whole lot of people not taking care of themselves, not pursuing what matters to them all for the sake of another. It sounded like entrapment, imprisonment. It sounded like a perfect recipe to lose one’s self.
And as it turns out, sacrificial love IS the perfect recipe to lose one’s self, and not any of the parts worth keeping. It turns out that through all of my resistance, sacrificial love is what I’ve been praying for all along.
I now see that this kind of love has nothing to do with giving up happiness, and everything to do with risking my SELF—all of the beliefs & stories I cling to, the past, the desire to be right and hold resentments, the drive to seek safety, control, and approval—true love asks me to give all of that up and surrender to a will far greater than my own. Not my will, God’s will. “Thy will be done.”
Sacrificial love means that I’m choosing to make myself so vulnerable, so open, so present to who you REALLY are to what REALLY is, that all I want is what is best for you…which as it turns out, is also what is best for me. It means seeing you beyond my stories of you, my perceptions of you, the past that my ego wants to project onto you. It means true forgiveness and healing.
So yes, sacrificial love requires letting go, and letting go, and letting go…but not of that which brings me joy. It simply asks me to let go of all of the illusions, all of the barriers that I’ve built that limit my capacity to actually experience joy and blind me from the truth: That love is the most natural, effortless expression of my soul. That loving you, SEEING you and showing up for you beyond fear and story is what I was born to do. It’s what we were all born to do.
Thanks to having the dad that I have and the mom that I have, I got to receive the precious gift of this growing awareness over this past week. I love them beyond words.
And oh yeah, when tragedy seems to strike in your life or to those dear to you—let my shared awareness be a gift and reminder to you that there is nothing wrong, ever. At any moment you can surrender and recognize that even those challenging experiences are loving you and giving you exactly what you need.
©2014 Melissa Simonson