It really is an interesting concept. I mean, the thought of loving someone unconditionally, without abandon, no holds-barred — it seems easy and difficult all at the same time.
I was watching an episode of Friends the other day in which Phoebe and Joey are disussing about whether or not there is such a thing as an unselfish good deed. Joey concedes that there in fact is not; there is no good deed that can be done without feeling a bit of delight from the fact that you made someone’s day. Phoebe sets out to prove him wrong. Needless to say, she is unsuccessful — every good thing that she does for another makes her smile.
But what about the good deed of love? Does it really matter if you feel pleasure in the fact that you love someone so much nothing they did or said could change it, that it will never end, that you would give up anything to see them smile?
I don’t think so.
Theologist and Episcopal priest, Carter Heyward, once said, “Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete.”
The fantastic thing about unconditional love is that the finality of such a regard allows the ones you love to know you care for them with no conditions attached; no strings, no yeah buts. Your intention would be to make him or her smile at the mere thought of the love between the two of you; to feel special that you shared your last favorite cookie with him — because you love him; to feel sad or worried or excited and call on you because you are an endless source of love in her life.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with my cousin and godchild, Chloe, on Sunday. I have always maintained that kids are the most natural unconditional lovers — they don’t understand grudges, selfish behavior and things of the sort.
When I arrived at Chloe’s house, she told me she had a present for me, and handed me a beaded necklace with a large flower. I reacted with surprise and told her how much I loved it; she grinned and helped me put it on. I found out from my aunt that this necklace had actually been Chloe’s great grandmother’s. I rushed to take it off, “Oh, gosh, I cannot keep this,” I told my aunt. But she shook her head and told me I absolutely had to keep it. “It is no big deal,” she said, “And Chloe loves to share.”
And I wondered, “Do I love to share? Do I unconditionally love the loves of my life so much that I would hand over my great grandmother’s jewelry just to make their days?”
I would like to think so. And I would like to think that necklace would make one of them smile, just as Chloe’s gift has done for me.
I wore my necklace out yesterday, and every time I received a compliment, I thought of Chloe’s delighted face when she saw me put on the jewelry. She did not care that she had once less flowered necklace to play dress up with; she was happy knowing that I was happy.
And, surely, that is the gift of unconditional love — to know that you have allowed another to move forward in love with your concrete love on his or her side.
That makes it oh-so-easy, doesn’t it?