Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Unconditional Love

I was watching the "Oprah" show a few weeks back, and she had a father on whose son had murdered his wife (and the son's mom) and had tried to kill him as well. The son was now in jail, obviously, but the father had written a book about it all, and about forgiveness.

It was interesting to me that the Dad said he still loved his son, unconditionally. He didn't condone what he did and he certainly felt many emotions surrounding the whole tragedy, but in the end, he forgave his son and still loved him.

My head was in a tailspin.

We all talk about unconditional love in our lives. The love that we have for our children is "unconditional". The love our pets give us is "unconditional." And the love we have for our spouse is "unconditional."

And while I don't necessarily need to test that theory in ANY way, I just wonder how much we truly DO love "unconditionally" and what that means. How many of us, if put to the test, would still claim to love that wholeheartedly and without condition?

What if our children grew up to be liars or thieves or worse?? Would we still love them as unconditionally as we do when they are young and cute and their worst crime is talking back or making a mess?

Would our pets love us unconditionally if we never walked or fed them? If we scolded and hit them?

What if our spouse betrayed us in an unspeakable, unconscionable way? Could we accept their remorse and guilt and forgive them? Could we continue to love them without condition, despite their acts?

Or really, is the only true person we love "unconditionally" our self? We forgive ourselves of many sins. We make excuses for our own shortcomings. We continue to love ourselves even though we mess up. So, is THAT really the only unconditional love we truly have in our lives?

It's hard to know really. Unless you are crossed with a situation where that theory, that statement of "love," is put to the test. Where you can come out of it and look the person in the eye and say, "I don't like what you did. I don't and won't ever condone it. I can't forget it. But I can forgive. And I still love you, despite it."

I saw that father speaking on "Oprah" about his son, and my head was in a tailspin.

We all throw the term 'unconditional love" around freely. We all WANT to believe we love in that manner. We all WANT to believe we ARE loved in that manner.

And I pray that none of us ever, like that father, has to truly test that hypothesis.

It's just food for thought.

Do you TRULY love unconditionally? Could YOU?

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