Love often has conditions.

We often love someone because they make us feel good about ourselves. Or because they take care of us or because they are dependable, obedient or attractive. Love often comes back to the most basic of all questions, “What is in this for me?” Men buy women flowers and offer back rubs and bubble baths with an ulterior motive, daughters say “I love you Daddy!” while asking for a few bucks… you get the idea, in the name of love, a lot of business can be transacted.

Seduction is not love. Neither is lust.

You can’t buy me love.

Least I sound cynical, I believe in love. I am unconditionally loved and that is an amazing thing to receive. Love can’t be destroyed, isn’t used to manipulate and isn’t a tradeoff . Unconditional love is all too rare and beautiful. It’s the eyes of a child, the hug from your parent, the gaze of your lover. Love that doesn’t expect or want anything in return is sacred.

Love has no past tense.

I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. 2I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don’t have love, I am nothing. 3I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don’t have love, none of these things will help me.4Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. 5It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. 6It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. 7Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.8Love never comes to an end. There is the gift of speaking what God has revealed, but it will no longer be used. There is the gift of speaking in other languages, but it will stop by itself. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will no longer be used. 9Our knowledge is incomplete and our ability to speak what God has revealed is incomplete. 10But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will no longer be used. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways. 12Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me. 13So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best one of these is love. 

<< 1 Corinthians 13 >>

Receiving love is a learned skill. It’s easy to deflect, neglect or reject. Unrequited love is the stuff of poets, not healthy humans. Loving someone who can’t or won’t be loved is the job of Mothers and Deities.

We who are unconditionally loved feel humble, whole and grateful, that’s how the world works. (But there is that whole feeling good about yourself thing). We often have to learn to love, to want what is best for someone else, to be willing to get nothing and still love. That’s unconditional love.

Love begets love. Returning love isn’t about flowers, sports cars or expectations. It’s about loving someone’s soul, their being, their spirit.

It’s not about fixing, ultimatums or infatuation. Love can’t be turned off or ignored for very long. Love can be faked, but not for very long. Love is not currency. Eleven million dollars can’t buy love, but a deep look into someone’s eyes can.

Love is deep.

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