Driving through the waning fall colors of Northeastern Ohio with its tranquil brilliance I am prompted toward an emotional conclusion that true love is an essential component of happiness and joy. Not easily defined or quantified, nor are those deductions the same as the others who drive the same streets, move in the same direction or even share a similar outlook on life. I have been to this part of the country many times and each time, I am in awe over the grandeur that is this State, regardless of the weather.
Why do we Love, or why do we Hate? I love Ohio, but do I want to live here. How can you love something but not want it all the time? The answer to that question depends on a variety of criteria that also seem to fall within the terms that assist us in determining whether we love or hate or feel something between those two diametrically opposed emotions.
Love is often a misunderstood feeling, being combined with pleasure and sex without the requirement of devotion and joy. True love does not happen overnight, trust cannot be bought or sold it requires a measure of time and circumstance in order to flourish. Love without trust and commitment on both sides of the equation is only half fulfilled and does not meet the requirements needed to sustain or satisfy love.
Can we fall in love or fall out of love without actively working toward either result? Love takes effort. The amount of effort is dependent on the motivations of the individual and the motivations of the other party involved. Too often we use the word love to describe the unhealthy motivations in order to selfishly profit from that relationship.
True Love must include an unselfish desire to help, bolster, support and improve another. There are no time constraints, no conditions, no scenarios that can interfere. If we truly love something we sacrifice for that love by engaging positively in all respects for that individual. The problems generally arise when the other party does not reciprocate in like manner, but our positive affirmations are not in vain and regardless of what the other party does, or feels our love grows and our capacity for love grows with it.
Like the winters of Ohio; they can be severe, unforgiving and miserable. Love also is not always the tale of dreams and happy endings. For in the reality that is our life we must acknowledge the possibility and promise of more to come. Love does not die when we die, nor do we fail to exist. But love is the power of remembrance and a connection to the faith that is our existence before, during and after this life.
Hate is opposite to Love in every way. There is no support, no desire to see improvement, nothing but a selfish desire to use another for one’s personal pleasure. The incremental step leading to love or hate will ultimately fill our lives. How we decide which to choose is often the difference between how we love or how we hate, how we progress or how we fail as human beings.
In short, if we love someone we act on their behalf and for the purpose of expanding that love. Hate is what occurs as a result of not loving.
When I first met my wife, 37 years ago I thought I was in love and to a degree, I was, based on my understanding of what I believed love was. 37 years later I am more in love with my wife than I could have ever imagined possible when I was young. Life has not always been easy, but we were both committed to the process of love and each other. Like a muscle love grows, expands and changes as we change with it.
Hate also grows, expands and changes in severity as it is fostered and fed. Those who promote hate do so from a selfish core, spreading their own hate to the heart of others to further feed their own needs toward control, inflicting pain, suffering, and misery.
When we look at our politicians, our leaders and those who govern our affairs, who among them act out of love? Even from an incremental manner, who have forsaken their selfish, hateful desires to serve those they represent?
The problem with answering that question is in being able to discern our own motivations. Do we act like our politicians, do we strive for loving relationships or are we more prone to selfishness and a hateful attitude of mine before theirs, or me over her, us over them? It is obviously a trend to move in egotistical circles, demanding rather than sharing, shouting instead of listening or hating instead of loving.
The solution to these problems are not found in strategies, or manipulations or control, the solution has to be within the heart and the mind deciding to accept love as the motivator of all we do. This does not mean that we become victims, powerless or we subject ourselves to the will of others. Meekness is not weakness, it is not submissiveness to the hate of others. Meekness is a strength, it is a resolve based on the power of love to do what is right so that others see the expansion of choices for all.
Politics has become the breeding ground for selfish motivations with politicians not serving those who elected them, but they serve themselves and get rich in the process. They pass laws for us but are not subject to those same laws. The entire system of checks and balances have been pulled off the scales and are no longer a reliable template for us or the world to rely on.
If the leaders fail to lead, we must lead for them but for that to happen we need to get our houses in order. Our lives must be transformed from selfishness and greed to love and opportunity. Our every choice can be expanded when we chose correctly. Like the love I have for my wife and children, and sometimes for the beautiful state of Ohio, we all need to choose to love one another and that starts by understanding the difference between love and hate.