There are times when a comment on a blog post unfolds a whole new direction of wisdom and insight. This happened on Thursday in response to the “Will Love Change You?” post.

I do not want Jaqueline’s comment to get lost. So I am reposting it here:

The biggest thing to realise, I think is that we ARE loved. We are already loved by friends, by family, by God, by life itself. Romantic love is only one variation of how love might be manifest in your life. It is a very important manifestation but not the only one.

You hear it all the time: “If only she could find love, Have you found love yet?” What a terrible demand to put on your potential partner that they be proof that you have finally found love and that you are therefore loveable!

What if in our ‘search for love’ we miss the love that is in our lives and miss it’s ability to nourish us?

It was the greatest freedom to realise this.. to understand that my search for love is over and to receive the love that is here now and rich and apparent. It meant that should God see fit to allow me to live with someone it is about practicing love together.not about that person being my source, or proof, or perfection of love. Understanding that leaves another human being free to be a human being and it is humans after all that we need to learn to love.

Every part of this comment bears pondering.

1. “romantic love is only one variation of how love might be manifest in your life

It is often said that there are many “forms” of love (we may have CS Lewis to thank for this).

Love does not come in “forms”. There is only LOVE. It is the vast, expansive, mysterious power that is the source of all being and the sustainer of all creation. Love is the power that drives the universe.

The writer of the first letter of John said simply “God is love”.

The energy of this love manifests in many ways. The point is, not to collect as many “forms” of love as possible, but to open to the power of love and allow that power to work in and through my life. I do not need to find a particular way of loving. I only need to be available to the love that fills all of life in whatever way that love is moving in my life. Love may move romantically in my life; it may move as friendship, or even as solitary mystical communion with God. It may manifest as a relationship with an animal, or as a sense of awe in the face of the beauty of creation, or as compassion and care for people living in difficult circumstances. The point is not the form of the manifestation but the willingness of my heart to manifest.

2.”What if in our ‘search for love’ we miss the love that is in our lives

Do not “search for love”. Love is not lost. Love is not missing in action. Love has not gone into hiding. Love is the air that we breathe.

We are so often like the silly story about the little fish who swims frantically home from school one day crying to his mother, “Mummy mummy quickly, we have to find some water. The teacher told us today that we need water in order to live. Where are we going to find water?”

We live in love. Love surrounds us wherever we are. The power of love fills our lungs with air; it courses through the veins of our body. Love is present in every flower that blooms and every tree that grows. There is nowhere you can go to get away from the reality of love.

But you can “miss the love” if you are convinced it is absent. The Spanish mystic St. Teresa of Avila said, “All our difficulties in prayer can be traced to one cause: praying as if God were absent.”

How tragic to spend our lives searching for a love we believe is missing when all the time it has filled our lives with its presence just waiting to be acknowledged and lived. To pray is to acknowledge the water in which we swim opening to the power of love that empowers us for the journey of life.

3. “should God see fit to allow me to live with someone, it is about practicing love together, not about someone being my source, or proof, or perfection of love

People do not give love to one another. We practice the love that is in us, or we don’t. This is the choice we make in every aspect of our lives. We either open to love and respond from that place of deep compassion and responsiveness, or we withdraw, shut down, resist the force of beauty and love that permeates all of existence.

So much relational sickness is generated by the determination to make another person fulfill a function that person is neither qualified nor equipped to perform. When I look to you to give me love, happiness, peace, security, hope, or a sense of well-being, I will always end up putting an intolerable burden upon our relationship.

The biggest thing to realize is that “we ARE loved”. If we were not loved, we would not be alive. The challenge is to enter into the flow of that love, to live that love in every dimension of its presence in all of life.