“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”
In order for us to be able to give our love, we need first the capacity to receive love: God’s love. The case for this rationale is easy to argue. A rudimentary understanding of grace is required to both give and receive love, which are fuelled by the loving motive.
Love is much more than an emotion; it is more often a decision.
1. To Be Loved
We need to have experienced love—God’s love—before we can know how to give love. Such an experience most often comes from people exemplifying grace as it is felt within our lives. God has loved us through them. Love has lured us in pure goodness.
Children brought up in abusive or neglectful environments feel something is missing; that their upbringing was wrong. They don’t need to be told there was a lack of love. Their life suffered from a lack of love. Even in a vacuum they would have known it was wrong. And when they are first loved, hope, meaning, and purpose begins at last to flourish.
Humanity has the capacity to love, because the love of God has been revealed in and through the Son. Such love, though it is expressed imperfectly everywhere, is everywhere to be seen. Because we are made in the image of a loving God, we have the innate desire to connect in love. It is the purpose of our lives.
To be loved is a prerequisite for loving. To be loved provides the motive to love.
2. To Love
Having known love—the actual experience—there is no huge leap in desiring to reciprocate. There is an inkling that loving provides its own reward. And it does. To love provides instant spiritual feedback to our souls. We feel blessed.
But we cannot just love without having first experienced the grace of God’s compassion, and to know, at first, the veritable resplendence in forgiveness. To ward against bitterness in the relational setting is the wisdom of love.
Having received love we have half our happiness. It’s a transaction not yet fully satisfied. As soon as we have experienced love we have a strong yearning to reciprocate. Having learned quickly the power in love we feel compelled to pay it forward.
To love is the completion of joy. This is when life makes terrific sense.
Having experienced love, via the grace of God manifest within forgiving relationships, we naturally want to reciprocate love. This is the best of life. To love and to be loved are the keys to happiness. Love is at its best when it wants to love.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.