In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote many beautiful things about what love is and is not. One of his more important points is that love is meant to exist without conditions.
We don’t always find that in our world.
The worst thing humans do to each other is love with conditions.
My second daughter experiences a great deal of the way selfish love works. Love is a weapon. Love is power to hold over another. Love is a tool with which to manipulate so get what you want.
I plan to make a powerful statement on love, but first I have to provide a bit of background info…
Thing 2 and her friends lost out on the house they were trying to rent. That hit her hard.
She’s not been seeing her counselor regularly (because, covid) and she didn’t realize how much she missed it until she got a call last week saying he’s starting to see clients in the office again.
She and Boyfriend M are strong and healthy.
But personally she isn’t in the best place.
She started a new job last week, one she’s enthusiastic about.
She’s making an appointment to see her therapist this week.
She and Boyfriend M had a good talk about mental health and being in a good supportive relationship.
She’s excited about feeling like she’s killing it and doesn’t even need help.
Then immediately not wanting to jinx it.
Thing 1 and I shared our joy at her enthusiasm, and spoke to many things.
But I became stuck trying to make sense of this contradiction.
(here’s where the connection to love starts to make some sense)
Acknowledging you’re ‘killing it’ does not jinx it.
And, ‘killing it’ does not mean you can’t use or don’t need assistance, support, and love.
‘Killing it’ means you’re doing your best.
I believe we must celebrate what’s good. What feels positive.
But more than that, I believe being good, or successful, or feeling healthy doesn’t mean you don’t need (or want) backup.
It’s not one or the other. It’s a delicate balance of relying on yourself and the love of your tribe.
Love and support foster your personal strengths.
‘Killing it’ and needing help are not mutually exclusive.
You can ‘kill it’ and still receive support from the people who love you.
And best of all, when you’re ‘killing it’ as well as receiving love and support the world is a truly wonderful place.
Thing 2 shared how fortunate she feels to have friends, family, and “a mans” who love and support her endlessly.
Her counselor said, “God works in mysterious ways.” and later that same day Boyfriend M told her “the universe works in mysterious ways”.
She was angry and sad and didn’t want to hear it. But she knew they were right.
She knew this because in one twelve hour span, she had love and unconditional support from ‘the boys’ (her core friend group), then her counselor, then her Momma, and then Boyfriend M.
She said, “Everyone cares about me, for me, not their own selfish gain. And that it truly magical, I’m glad I appreciate that now. At the time, I was cheesed off because it felt like I was fine and everyone was treating me like a broken toy all at once –turns out I was not doing fine and needed that huge multi-directional wave of love and support.”
To which her sister replied, “We will always love and support you, that’s what we’re here for. Even if sometimes it feels like we’re being mean or treating you like a broken toy, we just want you to be the youest you you can be.”
I hope with all my might that this experience begins to shift Thing 2’s understanding.
I want her to know you cannot jinx your success by celebrating the joy of it.
You can be ‘killing it’ and still require support.
You can be as successful as humanly possible and still rely on the love of others.
(here’s where the connection to Paul starts to make some sense)
Paul knew what was up.
In his letter to the Corinthians he wrote a great deal of what love is and is not.
He wrote he was nothing without love.
He wrote we should remain hopeful and faithful and do everything in love.
I’m not as eloquent as Paul, but these are some of the most important things I know about life and love:
Love is safe.
Love comes at you to lift you up.
Love is a celebration of who you are.
Love is the greatest gift.