Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Endless Love?

Countless times I have heard folks utter heartfelt declarations along the lines of, "I will love you forever" or "There is nothing that could ever make me stop loving you". Yet despite our heartfelt pronoucements, we all, in fact, have our limits regarding our feelings toward others, and those limits are much more finite than many may care to imagine. With the divorce rate in this country at about 50%, there is no denying love's mark is not a permanent tattoo, but apparently washes away quite easily. Such cold and harsh statistics gloss over the personal circumstances behind the tears, the pain, the hurt, and the anger. However, I would bet the main reason that underpins nearly every broken relationship is that we are, each and every one of us, selfish at heart. We want what we want when we want it, and if someone gets in our way too often or at the wrong time, then those once seemingly formidable bonds of love can transform from hardened steel to dust.

There seems to be a prevailing sense that there are different types and sorts of love in our relationships with others. While feelings of love between spouses are anything but permanent, despite our protests to the contrary, many will claim that their love for their children is unconditional. Flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood somehow makes a critical difference. But what if your child completely rebelled against your authority and your core values? What if they made it clear through their actions and their words that they truly disliked you? What if they shut you out of their lives? If love is based on relationship, mutual positive feelings and respect, then isn't it a fallacy to think that our love for our own children is anything more permanent than any other kind of love?

I think that sometimes folks let themselves come to ruin over lost relationships, not because there is any measure of love involved, but because they are clinging to regrets over what they wish would have been. The deep feelings that we might label love that seem to linger within us in such circumstances are likely not for the person as they are today, but for the person that we knew or thought we knew. I just haven't seen anything in the character of human nature that supports the notion of endless love. We all have our limits.