A Year of Love and Courage

Photo Credit: Bev Lloyd-Roberts


A friend of mine made a recent facebook post that said:

This might just be me, but the longer I live, the more it seems that insecurity stemming from a lack of real love is responsible for most of the world’s problems.

Wow.  We all know if we watch the news that there is a constant state of flux for global problems all around us.  When I get overwhelmed with the reality of things, I like to remember that global problems start with people problems, and one thing I can do to affect things is look for the problems I’m perpetrating on my own small scale.

I think about the relationships, friendships, and family ties that I’ve given up on or walled off because the open-heartedness of love has been self-decreed as too painful, too difficult, and too unrewarding.  I’m selfish a lot of the time when I’m being “loving.” I want something back in return.

Isn’t it easy to love someone who returns the favor and makes you feel like a valid, attractive, worthy human being?  I know it is for me.  That’s why it’s so wonderful to have an affectionate boyfriend or husband. 

But I want to do more than “safe-loving” this year.  I want to love courageously

This means loving myself enough to trust and step forward even when I don’t know how to do the things I’m trying to do.  This means loving people who frighten me and make me want to pretend to be someone I’m not, someone less genuine and less open and tender.  This means refusing to give into bitter hardness, even when that’s the easiest thing to do in the face of pain and disappointment. 

And this kind of love will take a truckload of courage.  For me, the person who has caused me so much love and pain is my younger sister.  She’s definitely not the only one, but she’s my weak spot.  We were raised very close together and I shared my bedroom with her till the day I got married.

I wrote her a pretty gutsy letter last summer, and only had the courage to show it to her a month ago.  With her permission, I’ve submitted the letter to a collection of essays about love. If ithe letter is accepted, I’ll post the link to it.  If not, I’ll post it here as an unusual twist on Valentine’s Day. 

And solving the world’s problems on a small scale is not just about friendships and relationships (though that’s a heck of a good place to start). 

For me, it’s about operating on my day-to-day life without a competitive spirit’s feeling that there’s not enough of whatever I want to get my share.  It’s about living life as a team player who enjoys helping others with no strings attached.  It’s about stepping into a room full of people who don’t know me and sharing who I am with them in loving confidence that I am totally complete without their acceptance and approval. 

It’s a tall order, and it starts with the simple act of love. 

I’m always ambitious with myself, but I’m trying to keep it simple by avoiding the long list of specifics.  I’m not big into New Year’s Resolutions, because I hate it when I don’t make all the goals on a list, and I tend to be a pretty obsessive goal setter even without the new year rolling around.  However, Love and Courage is a mantle that I think I can carry.

How about you?  Now that the confetti is vacuumed and the gym membership is paid for and the leftover fudge is (mostly) gone from the house, what are your thoughts for this shiny new year?


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