"Looking for love in all the wrong places..." the words to that old country song came back to me while contemplating this post.
Some thought provoking quotes from one of my favorite authors on the subject - Merle Shain.
From When Lovers Are Friends. "Very few of us are tough enough to be soft." Sometimes we don't recognize love when we see it. Do you know someone who is strong enough, and loves fierce enough to fight for truth and yet their kindness is just as obvious? You feel the love radiating from them and if you stand there, it can fill you up.
"There are many sources of friendship which we reject, many potential friends who we don't see, and hence there are many ways of enriching our lives which we overlook, many sources of love which we turn down." Do you turn from love because it's not the right 'kind' of love, not what you expect, not what you were taught love IS?
"Friends are people who help you be more yourself, more the person you are intended to be, and it is possible that without them we don't recognize ourselves, or grow to be what it is in us to be. Our lives are in fact many lives, and we can all be much more than we are, so there cannot be any doubt that the secret of who we become is whom we meet along the way."
Often caring friendships will carry you further and more securely than the kind we bet our futures on, rejecting them in hopes of THE ideal.
What's the best kind of love - romantic love? A friend's love? A child's love? Familial love? Fido's love?
From Courage My Love, Merle Shain quotes Mignon McLaughlin, "No one ever loved anybody like everybody wants to be loved." And Shain says, "We expect a lot from love-- often a lot more than we expect of ourselves."
What is this thing we call 'love' that we look for outside ourselves? How does someone 'prove' their love? Why is that necessary? Do we concentrate as much on proving ourselves as we expect from our significant others?
"People who are always trying to make the perfect choice, rejecting what they have for what they hope to find, bet the present on the future and end up missing both...
It is easy enough to love the one who got away or the one we never got, the real trick is to love ourselves enough to let someone know who we really are, and to pay them the same respect...
There isn't a perfect person somewhere, only a more perfect person we might become. You can think you must look still for the perfect one, or that the best one got away, or that love is a fraud and a failure and that you want it not, or that everything went wrong because your mother didn't love you, but the one you wait for is yourself."
There was never a truer word spoken.
Love is all around us, from friends, family and strangers. It may not be everywhere; it may not be constant; and it may not be a guarantee, but in our giving of ourselves we find it. In our acceptance of someone else, we find it. And maybe when we stop trying so hard to find IT, love finds us.
What does 'love' mean to you? Is it really about diamonds, jewelry or even chocolate? Is it about happy endings? Or is it about BEing, giving, and sharing happiness.
Maybe we could learn to be a love tree, ever blooming, forever tapping deep into the roots of love wherever we find it.