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why I will never give up on love

Love.  We all desire for it in our lives.  It presents itself to us beautifully in a multitude of ways, as unique and diverse in fashion as we are created as individuals.  Perhaps it’s felt through a relationship with a best friend or even a pet.  Maybe it’s through a sports team or an idol that we’ve embraced as our own.  Or it could be through our faith and our relationship with God or our family.  But to most of us, love is most ideally thought of as the romance and the companionship of our soul mate.  It’s the truth that we feel as we gaze into our partner’s eyes, and the comfort that makes all of our worries disappear instantly.  It’s the gentle touch of a hand that provides security and lifts us to our feet when we fall.  It’s bigger than money or earthly things.  It’s two imperfect beings uniting as one to form a bond that is, in each others’ eyes, absolute perfection.  Love is God’s gift to us.

Unfortunately, love doesn’t always come easy.  Lots of sacrifices are made on its behalf, and our heartfelt investment does not come with an insurance policy.  It sure would be nice if it did, wouldn’t it? “OK, and sign on the line here stating that IF things should fall apart and your heart be broken you will have the opportunity to rewind time, avoid that pitfall, and start brand new with a partner of equal or greater value that will be provided to you.”  That sounds like a plan that we could all make affordable, right?

But love doesn’t work that way.  Because love mirrors faith, and faith requires trust in a power that is greater than us.  If you attempted to carry an insurance policy with you into a relationship, you would never find love.  No, you’re going to need to let go.  Love requires vulnerability.  You may not want to hear that, because if you’re like the majority of us, chances are that you’ve been burned once or twice before when you’ve allowed your heart to open up.  Perhaps your experience has left you guarded or downright terrified of ever giving love an opportunity in your life again.  Fear is a powerful thing; I know that far better than most.  It can be absolutely paralyzing, and one bad experience with a shattered heart can leave us determined to forfeit and abandon all new opportunities to embrace happiness and life’s greatest gift.

I’m a man that’s dealt actively with anxiety and panic disorder along with OCD for the past 10 years of my life.  I’ve experienced nearly every fear imaginable.  If there was a disease spoken about publicly, chances are that at some point in my life, I’ve convinced myself that I’ve had it.  I’ve been afraid to drive my car, walk to the mailbox, and even drag myself out of bed certain days with apprehension of the shakiness that I might feel in my body as I get up to walk.  I’ve abandoned outings with my friends as well as family get-togethers…I’ve even spent Thanksgiving alone as a result of fear.  I’ve found myself hopeless and on my knees with tears in my eyes praying to God to have mercy on me, time after time.  And I’ve faced bouts with agoraphobia stemming from truly a fear of, well, myself.  In my lowest points, I lost trust in my ability to function normally in the world I knew.  I became fearful that I would just break down one day and lose it all together.  I envisioned the worst, and I kept myself completely guarded from nearly everything around me.  I wanted to curl up in a ball and disengage from life.

But even with crippling fears presenting themselves to me at different points in my life, the one thing that I never gave up on was love.  Hard to imagine that even being possible considering some of the striking blows and heartache that I faced in my past, but it’s most certainly the truth.  Sure, I would hurt for awhile, but I never found myself discouraged or fearful of opening up my heart again.  Perhaps (along with my faith) my willing acceptance of that vulnerability has served as a buoy in my life.

If you believe in love and trust in God, you always have hope.  Because love can warm your heart.  It can pour into a failing body and breathe new air into its lungs.  Love can provide life to aching bones.  It can have an immediate impact on your mind and your overall well being.  You can experiment with every medicine a doctor can prescribe or even try your own natural remedies, but nothing will serve as a more powerful elixir than love.  And it can be taken at any dosage…a little spoonful of love might do the trick for some, but others may desire a heavier, more regular regimen.  There is no such thing as too much.  A heart full of love promotes a body graced with health and a life filled with prosperity.

I’ve never personally been able to get enough of it in my life.  You could hook me up to an IV of the “love elixir” and I’d probably still find myself desperately wanting more.  I’m sure that there are quite a few people who know me that would say that I’m crazy for that.  “After all that you’ve been through with relationships and heartache, why?”  The simple answer is, because I believe.  I believe in its power.  I know how a small spark can ignite a fire within that has the ability to illuminate the world.  I’ve felt firsthand how it can heal a wounded heart, an anxious mind, and a failing body.  And so love, or the idea of love, keeps me alive.  And I can’t wait until the day that it presents itself in my life again.

I know that it will arrive soon, and I will welcome it with open arms.  I will not fear but instead I will embrace.  Because on that day, I will know beyond a doubt that I have advanced to the peak of my recovery and transformation.  For the gift that I will receive will come from no other than the man upstairs as a celebration of all that’s taken place during the past year of my life.  And I will know that I have arrived.  Love will be my happy ending.