There is one question that I believe we all struggle with from the day we are born. It doesn’t matter how strong your relationships are, how successful you have been in life, or how much others admire you. In the quest spots of the day, when life slows down and they only place that seems to be moving is the thoughts in your mind, the essence of the question will return. “Am I loved?”
Far too often we know think we know the answer. At least it is a partial yes! Yet we know that the answer comes with strings or conditions. Yes, I’ll love you if, of course I love you but, or let me count the ways that I love you – followed by condition after condition. Every relationship seems to depend on something. Each statement appears to have a condition or implied requirement. Even if the only conditional clause is relationship based, one walks away with the sense that love is conditional on behavior.
One reads the paper and finds many dying for lack of love. Twenty thousand come to the funeral of a cyclist in Italy just days after nobody could be bothered to be part of his life. Victims of abuse and exploitation are found packed in suitcases, chopped into pieces, or trapped in virtual prisons.
Even in healthy relationships the challenge presents itself. Parents want to love their children without conditions however circumstances stretch that commitment to the edge of breaking. Even Valentine’s rests on a question pregnant with serious doubts!
The thirst for love extends in all directions. Even when we have plain statements such as the one found in Christianity – “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” (John 3.16) It is almost impossible to believe.
Love always requires conditions! Love is based on what one gets. Nothing is ever a true gift.