It’s easy for me to love. It is what I do. Raising eight souls and being married 24 years have given me plenty of opportunities to grow in the knowledge of how to love.
Those who are loved by acts of service, I’ve got your gas tank filled up for you. Physical touch? Let Mommy rub your shoulders. Gifts? Here’s a special package mailed to your dorm room.
To the one who needs to be affirmed and connected, there is a note placed on top of your pillow, and “special time” is a coveted but precious phrase in our home. Those who are blessed with it bloom under its umbrella. At times, we have all felt loved by these efforts, but for me, the doing has always been easier.
I find myself in a season of needing to receive love, and it is formative. There have been multiple times in the story of this incredible family of mine where charity has been needed, and, oh, the stories of generosity and kindness have formed the backbone of who we are as a family.
But I have come to realize that my openness to that charity and love was always for my family. They were (and continue to be) always worthy, but it was for them that the charity was received.
I sent a text the other day to a good friend on my way back from a hard appointment. In it, I laid out the details of upcoming medical care: when I would be home, and when I would not. This friend, so busy with a thriving life of her own, responded: I will be there with your children.
I sat there in the car, as my husband drove me home, holding the phone and reading that message. I will be there. I sat in awe of that fact that she so loved me that she would stop her world, that I was so much a part of her world, that she would do that for me. Not for my children, not for my husband, but for me. I was worthy.
It’s a tricky thing being loved. I have been married 24 years, and even now there are days where I ask my husband, “Really, me?” Steadfast and true, he responds, “Always, you.”
I received a letter the other day from my children’s surgeon. I have spent 15 years walking with this man, showing him Jesus along the journey. I have been so grateful for the friendship that has grown.
His letter, so woven with care and love for me, left me weeping. In it, he spoke of who I am. He spoke in words that said he knew me, my strengths and weaknesses, and loved me. I was fully known and loved.
I’m in a place of pondering love. Not romantic love, but abiding love. I am reeling from the deep and steadfast love that is being laid before me in a time of need. Male or female, child or senior, love is being given to me. Love is slowing me down with its sheer radiance.
At moments, I feel like Peter or John at the Transfiguration, almost blinded by the sheer brilliance of it. It is palpable. There is no avoiding being loved like this.
A dear priest friend shared with me that receiving love is more challenging than giving love. That is why God became man, to show us how to receive. This has been my reflection, day and night, that I may live in that humility.
I know I am not alone this season, where receiving love is a necessity. It is also an opportunity I don’t want to let pass by, for I know this is sacred time – this dependency on the Father’s love, walking forward in faith and trust.
The Lord works through us in our weakness. When we allow ourselves to be supple to His working within us, our strength becomes His light shining from within and welcomes others in. Love speaks, welcomes, gives and frees us in our deepest moments.
This season, may we welcome love in all its brilliance and receive it as the gift that it is.
This article first appeared in the Catholic Times