The imperfections and failures of humanity’s quest for love are often so much before me. There are times when I feel that nobody besides You really loves me - and I so desire to be loved. It is a feeling that must be akin to Your desire to be loved by us and our constant failures to do so. Yet, while I wallow in this feeling, who would say that I really love them? Would You say that I really love You? Would my wife and children say that I really love them? How about my friends? To all of these is there any evidence of love from me? Despite the desperate need we all feel to be loved, this very feeling is removed from and often in direct conflict with love.
Two individuals may be mutually in love with each other, but it is not the mutuality that makes the love. Love is a singular independent gift that an individual gives with absolutely no strings attached. People in this age, and probably in previous ones, always find ( or seek to find) the attached strings. We are super-sleuths at ferreting out the slightest shred of self-interest in another’s ostensible love. Is the purity of the gift in its wrapping or in the intention? Or are they related?
Life is indeed a quest for true love. But the point is that it should be a quest for perfecting our gift of it, not a quest of seeking it from others, or perfecting it in others. When I mentioned You and all those friends and relations above it was because there really is some form of attachment there. I know these people and knowledge precedes love. If I did not know these people I might still wish to be loved by them, but it would be just as a performer wishes the adulation of his audience. When it is preceded by knowledge the desire to love becomes more that just a feeling of good will. It is knowledge about this woman or man or about You that elicits my gift of love. If I wish for love, I must make myself known to others including You. Maybe it’s from this whole concept that the scriptural idea of “a selfish God” comes. I know that feeling of selfishness in regard to my love for You. So, in a very real sense the questions: “Do they love me? or Do You love me?” are irrelevant. Even the answer “No” to these questions does not preclude the fact that the only valid question is: Do I love?