When I’m tired I can’t love! Many times I have lived this reality and even assessed it as the exact end of love.
I no longer have energy, patience, attention, interest. I wish that no one asked me for anything…I have reached the end, my wits’ end. I was going through such a moment about 20 years ago when a good friend, hearing that fatigue diminished my love, reminded me of this biblical verse: “Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). He just sent me this message, without further comment, leaving me to find on my own the applicability of this way of loving like Jesus loves.
The end of love is not wits’ end
I’m trying to understand what it’s like to be crucified. I can only imagine what it would be like to be up there, on the cross, in terrible physical pain. Exhausted, mocked, misunderstood, with a lot of pain and emotional pressure. At His wits’ end. However, I see how the love of Jesus has not come to an end, it’s still manifesting. He sees His grieving mother and gives her comfort. He senses the need for hope of the most miserable man, the thief next to Him, and offers him reassurance. He looks at those who have just crucified Him and prays for their sin. He finds the energy and tact necessary for each of them, for their needs. Living in His presence, you can’t help but feel, even today, the same thing: You are important and you have all My attention!
I’m trying to understand what it’s like to be crucified.
That’s how I realize that love has another end. It does not end with the draining of my energy and the accumulation of stress, but rather goes hand in hand with the needs of others. Jesus teaches me to change focus from my ability to give, to the needs of others. Only when I succeed in this will I learn to reinvent myself. The needs of others are an endless source of challenges. Older or younger children around me, colleagues, parents, friends, family, neighbours, people on the street and all the situations in which they find themselves, even online posts, often provoke my creativity. What can I do better for each one of them? What is the greatest need of these people? How can I understand them better? What is the context in which these needs are generated? What would be the smallest thing I could do? What about the biggest? What would be the most appropriate approach? How does it help the person in question if I do this? Can I do something else that’s better?
You are important and you have all My attention!
Still, I can’t help but wonder what would change if I always loved as He loves me. What would my family be like if I applied this standard? How would my children feel if I found the tenderness and the right tone of voice they need in moments of fatigue and impatience? And how would I feel about my fatigue at the end of a day lived like this?
Love ends when you have no perspective
Knowing that His death is our only solution, Jesus chose to incarnate. The Almighty Creator became a helpless baby. His actions were guided by the fulfilment of His role, the end of His mission. Jesus lived every day to the fullest, according to His mission. He lived independently of social pressures or the worthiness of those He helped.
Even though only one in ten lepers returned and thanked Him, Jesus did not stop healing.
Although arrested for breaking the law, He was not intimidated and did not give up doing what needed to be done, healing on the Sabbath. In Gethsemane He pulled through, even though it was terribly difficult for Him. Although few accepted Him, He died for all.
For me, sometimes things happen differently. More often than not I need to receive appreciation and validation in order to love. I want my children to speak nicely to me, my husband to thank me for the meal, my colleagues to see that I work over schedule.
Keeping things in perspective provides the power to love.
I was talking recently to a beginner educator about what it’s like for her to give online lessons to children who are 2-3 years old. They aren’t very attentive for long, their parents don’t communicate enough, they send very few pictures of what the children have worked on, and they don’t sign in on the chat app. She almost feels like giving up her job in such conditions. All her efforts to make things work as well as possible under any circumstances seem to have no encouraging results. Immediate satisfactions are few to none. Still, every day, she prepares the materials with all ten children in the group in mind, not just the three who are active. Her mission is to provide everyone with the resources and opportunities to be together, even if the use of these resources is not up to her. She thinks about the moment of returning to kindergarten, the moment of face-to-face reunion.
Keeping things in perspective provides the power to love. Losing perspective kills love, because it involves not only what you see in the future, what could be achieved beautifully, but also what you see in the present. How am I in the view of everyone around me? How am I fulfilling my roles? How do I love? Are my actions, motivated by future results, still conditioned by how I perceive those for whom I act? Oh, how many reasons for a divorce would there be if I only looked at what my husband is not doing! How many would there be left if I looked at what I should do?!
He turns mistakes into new opportunities for engaging the will and all this in an unconditional way.
How conditional my love for my children would be, if I would let myself be carried away only by the emotions they provoke in me! How would I love them if I were aware at every moment of what I am building in them? What memories will they have when they leave home? How would they draw me? What stories would my mother, my sisters, tell about me? Can I be there for my friends in uncomfortable situations? Do they feel judged? Can they count on me easily or do they feel embarrassed?
Although I do not have favourable answers to all these questions, I train my love to be like the love I receive from Jesus. He loves me today with the thought of what I can become tomorrow. He does not see my limits, but my needs. He gives me opportunities to grow, to step out of my comfort zone, giving me the assurance of success. He turns mistakes into new opportunities for engaging the will and all this in an unconditional way. He does me good, because that’s how He is.
Simona Condrachi discovers love’s new nuances when she analyses the individual needs of those around her. Feeling fully loved by her Creator, she wants the power of love to be an experience she lives every day.