The other day I had this poignant yet insightful conversation with my patient. She told me that, one year ago, her daughter passed away at the age of fifty two because of a certain cancer and it shocked her whole family. I looked into her eyes and saw that powerful love of a mother that never fades even in the face of death – the kind of love that remains ‘till eternity.
“With all these things happening, what has the whole experience brought you?” I asked, filled with curiosity of what wisdom an eighty one year old lady could share after going through a rough time with her illness and being beside herself with grief.
“Life is precious,” she replied. “And relationships are the most precious thing you could ever have in your life.”
Her words present to me as a great testimony of the value of relationships, especially our family. It made me think of the irony of how we sometimes ignore or hurt those special people in our lives even if we know we love them to bits. Sometimes we kind of assume that they are just always there without really recognizing that they, too, are vulnerable as we are and have their own mortality.
I realized that:
Love is not love until it is given away.
If it is just in our head, it is only an idea or desire. Love becomes real the moment we start doing something out of that desire to care, support and nurture others.
I’d like to encourage you to love your family wholeheartedly. I know some of you might have received rejection and disconnection from your parents or siblings instead of experiencing love and belonging. And perhaps you’ll say I have no idea how difficult it is to be in that position and it’s just so easy for me to say ‘love with all our hearts’ because I haven’t experienced the opposite. ‘Easier said than done’ you might add.
Listen, I appreciate that I have no complete understanding of the circumstances you are going through. What I know is that it is difficult, it is painful, and it is not easy. But I want you to know that there is hope.
You have a choice to forgive.
Remember that there is a redemptive power of forgiveness. And we can only forgive through love. Think of this: what gain do you reap if you keep resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart?
Choose love. Choose to forgive.
– The Terrible Artist
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