Where to begin I am not sure. But I do know this I am learning the lesson of what Great Love is.
My friend and colleague, Gemma, posted about such love on the Dark Room Red Light Blog a great read so go there if you can.
In the last 4 weeks I have had my ability to love unconditionally shaken. It is something that has always come easily to me. I quickly take people into my heart, compassion and empathy are easy for me, a gift and a curse, as it is exhausting to care so much about people that you feel their pain, but it is what makes me good at what I do.
There is a couple with whom I have been working with for over a year. In August last year they were homeless, heroin addicted and desperate. Then M found out she was pregnant. for the first time they asked for help. I took them to appointments, spent hours on the phone trying to find them accommodation and along the way grew to understand how and why they found themselves destitute and drug addicted, and, to love them. Together we worked our butts off to see them housed, drug free, having custody of their beautiful baby girl and their teenage son.
On Friday night M's mother txts me to say that Protective Services were bringing the children to her as M and B had a car accident and the police thought them to be drug affected. Seriously I wanted to get a big stick and smack them with it. Didn't they understand what it was they stood to loose? After a what must have been the longest weekend of their lives we end up at court Monday morning. It takes all day and I sit with these distraught parents, coping B's abuse because I know that it is not really me he is angry at, wiping M's tears and trying to get them to see it isn't the end of the world but thinking it might be. The worker who has worked with them since the birth of their baby sticks her neck out and advocates for them to have the kids back. I leave court exhausted but happy. M and B hug me as they go home to wait for their kids to return.
M and B come in asking for food and stuff. I chat to M in th office about how they are and how we can help going forward she looks exhausted and is still very emotional. We put together some stuff for them and play with their baby girl who is seriously cute. B follows me into the office asking for a phone card. They leave hugging me and say see you Friday.............
My phone is gone also, it is almost certain that B took it whilst I was getting him a phone card as it was charging in the computer near where he stood. I am angry and sad, I cry and swear. Girls offer me money they've earned on the streets and one offers me a i-phone that was not bought at any apple store.
I am not really angry about the phone, its annoying especially as it is the second one I have had stolen. I am angry because I have helped these two more than anyone. Gemma rationalizes and bosses me about seeing a psychologist which I must and will do. But still I feel sad and angry- "Why steel from me? I help them. Thats it I am not helping them anymore!"
Sitting on the couch after the kids have gone to bed I hear the still quite voice and they conversation goes like this;
" You must love them with Great Love."
"Why should I? They don't love or respect me"
"Thats what Great Love is."
"but that's not fair and it is soo hard!."
"No but it is what it is- to love with no strings, unconditionally and continually despite what they do or say."
So there it is. To love expecting nothing in return is difficult, heart breaking and gets harder the more you get to know someone. But it is the core of what I believe and why I do what I do. So today I have made two resolves:
* To start seeing a psychologist that can help me stay mentally well, so I can continue to do what I do.
* To practice loving others as He has loved me- openly, with no strings and expecting nothing.