Love First and Lessons Later

Opaque Ink on Card Stock – Words: Henry David Thoreau

We spent time with family this past weekend, which means these are the people we love the most in this world. It doesn’t mean things always run smoothly. Between blended families, step this or that, different generations, puberty, and sleeping under the same roof, things can indeed not always run smoothly. When I read these words from Thoreau, I understood. Not that anything specific happened, it’s just that when you interact and love people everything and everyone is not always on the same page.

When things get dicey, instead of getting angry love more. When the people in your life do not always behave or think or interact with you the way you want, love more. When you need something and those darn people do not read your mind correctly, love more. And when we make mistakes or take people for granted, or hurt others unintentionally, we can hope that they will love us more than our actions deserve. Thoreau had a great idea here, the solution is not flight or fight, the solution is to love more.

Life is filled with grey areas, annoyances, misunderstandings, beautiful adventures and people that come in and out of our lives. No matter how we feel or want to react or think we deserve something else, the answer is to love more not less. Withholding affections, kindness, words or hugs does nothing other than build walls. And life is too short to build walls. Be it drug abuse, tardiness, lying, cheating, stealing or a simple communication seafood, take a deep breath and work hard to love more. What “they” did doesn’t always deserve more love, and yet if we only received what we deserved in life then most of us would be in sad shape and very alone.

Love means forgiveness, patience, kindness in large doses for them and us. Loving people means allowing them to fail, learn and try again without criticism or harshness, it means showing love even when they really screw up. Some days the best we can do is be kind by not reacting while we calm down enough to be able to show love. However it falls out, think love first and lessons later.

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