Love is…

“I was thinking about love. I was thinking about how difficult it is for us to find and to maintain the love that we all yearn for. And it dawned on me that I think a big part of the problem is that we misdefine love. I think the real paradigm for love is: gardener, flower. The gardener wants the flower to be what the flower is designed to be, not what the gardener wants the flower to be. You want the flower to bloom and to blossom and to become what God designed it to be. You’re not demanding that it become what you need it to be, for your ego. Anything other than all of your gifts, wide-open, giving, nourishing this flower into their greatness, is not love.”

Will Smith

The above quote described Will Smiths perspective on love. A friend forwarded me the video, which I watched multiple times in order to transcribe it. But how often don’t I find myself attempting to change the people around me and try to persuade them to do things the way I think they should be done? But… is that fair to the people around me? Isn’t it my job to ultimately be the best partner, friend and family member I can be and allow the people around me to blossom into the beautiful flowers they’re designed to be?

It made me think of a passage of the Bible I read in the Passion translation, part of 1 Corinthians 13. In this translation the section is captioned ‘Love, the motivation of our lives’:

4 Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. 5 Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. 6 Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. 7 Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7, TPT

In this translation this passage has so many footnotes. I love that and I might elaborate on them another time. For now I wanted to share with you how humbling it was to read this text. That’s an ambitious definition of love, if it’s what we want to live up to as humans. 

And at the same time it’s an incredibly welcoming thought to know that this is how God loves us. And that through his love for us, we can be recharged to reach out to the people around us with a similar love as described above. Because we’re imperfect people, we’ll inevitably screw up time and again. And that’s okay.

Because as long as we keep going back to the source of love, we’ll also be recharged time and again. And then we’ll be able to switch from ‘How is this person/situation/relationship benefitting me?’ to ‘What am I able to bring to this person/situation/relationship?’. That switch will help us to pour out all of our gifts, wide-open, giving, nourishing the flowers around us into their greatness.