Parenting is the most emotionally transformational experience of my life. Having my best and worst qualities mirrored back to me. All. The. Time. Continuously working my butt off as I ride that fine line between teaching and protecting, guiding and supporting, cultivating and directing, discipline and autonomy. And through all the ups and downs, I love my spawn. Unconditionally. What does that really mean?
If I'm honest with myself, am I capable of loving another being unconditionally? I believe that I can. If tested, I mean truly tested, would I love them through it unconditionally? Would my love for them remain unwavering? How about someone else's children? Say Jena's kids, for example.
Most of you may already know that I fell in love with a wonderful woman, a mother of five kids. Yes you read that correctly. Two of which are adopted. Bad ass, right? "Wow" is what I thought in the beginning, and to some degree still do a year later. Shit, we even bought a house together. Yeah, for real!
The reality of this beautiful woman's compassionate loving nature, however, has me going through a lot of calming essential oil blends, meditation, escapism, etc. Even drinking a little more wine than I'm proud to admit. You laugh, but it can get really intense quite often. Now you add my youngest preteen daughter and I may as well commit myself to monkhood for the sake of my sanity.
The following words "Unconditional love" or "Agápē" have been bouncing in my skull for quite some time lately. They have been used to describe the highest form of Love for thousands of years in scriptures and teachings. Now Agápē in the greek language, literally means "Godly love for all of His children." Just let that one sink in for moment. It's gotta be a force so powerful and immense that its simplicity may seem baffling.
How does agápē translate into this realm, a realm of conditions, a realm in which Love and Fear coexist? How would it translate to other relationships? Hmmm, Godly love, benevolent love in an existence that also adds a heaping side-dish of fear. Buffering, buffering.... not computing. Huh? Here's my take on how I believe unconditional love, at least in this reality, is worth the fight, and yet not some destination of higher existence. Oh this post is about to stir the pot! I can feel it now.
It most certainly is not the kind of love where one is obliged to remain in an abusive or harmful situation. Is the pain meant to serve a higher purpose? Maybe. How would a "Godly love for all of His children" translate to other relationships. Staying in that situation is absolutely not unconditional Love. That's choosing to remain subject to someone else's pain. To remain a victim. Especially if you're not going to do anything about it and complain of unfairness. Unless you're choosing martyrdom so that all of humanity may live on. In which case such a gesture would render you as someone who has been mentioned among the pages of translations from long ago. You know who I'm talking about.
Growing up in a moderately sized family on my mom's side has had an unexpected side effect. The kind of family environment that was both very loving and emotionally charged for most of my childhood. There were many great moments and many moments that were cause for much of my familial resentment and desperate need to run away without looking back at first opportunity. Much of that resentment required a lot of personal work and time to finally grow through. And now so much time has passed that rebuilding relationships through a new lens is very slow going in accepting them fully. I love them and would do just about anything for them otherwise.
We exist in a very conditional realm. One with constants and universal laws. Among these laws is the law of causality. For every cause there is an equal and opposite effect. And when you have two of most powerful forces co-existing(non-opposing) within the same realm, love and fear, how could there be any window for loving unconditionally?
Through acceptance is how. By accepting others and ourselves fully. You are as you are, consciously or unconsciously. I choose to love and accept you, and because I equally love myself, there will not be any putting up with shenanigans. Sometimes love can feel harsh, even from a place of compassion. My love for stranger, acquaintance, friend or romantic partner follows a different set of parameters than the love for my kids.
That son who perpetually makes the wrong choices, landing him in prison. Or the daughter who's constant neglect of her children places them in danger. At what point would you not bail him out, for his own good? When would you take custody of her kids for their own safety and wellbeing? Does it mean you love that son or daughter any less through in-action?
Those are the questions that rattle around upstairs for me often. Sometimes love is allowing mistakes to be made for the lesson to reveal itself in the only way it can for their growth and expansion. Other times it's intervening, and in their face to save them from themselves.
Ultimately, it is the acceptance or non-acceptance of behavior, of choices, and moments that allows for love to exist unconditionally. Either I accept all of you or I don't. For me love is unwavering, but my acceptance may be fickle and human and discerning. At some point I must remain unconditionally loving of self in a manner equal to my love for you and yours. Where does your acceptance lie for another beyond the love you hold for them?