~Gerald C. May
What do you see in this picture? I know that what I saw for many, many years was "the good shepherd" going after "the one lost sheep." It was a picture of Jesus' love for each one of us, my Sunday school teachers explained; it was an illustration of how he would have died for "just Cheryl" if she were the only one on earth with sins that demanded a payment.
Today I no longer see that. I DO see love, though. I don't see a love only a god can have for a human. I DO see the kind of love my Pop Pop showered extravagantly (SHOWERS...still...<tears>) for me. I DO see the kind of love I feel for my kids. It's extravagant. Senseless. Unconscious, sometimes. From somewhere deep inside of me that I KNOW is "the real me."
I don't always show/give this love in this "throw-my-body-over-the-cliff-for-you" spirit. Far from it. It is easier to feel this sort of love toward someone with whom you are falling in love than it is to feel it and show it to someone who has betrayed, neglected or hurt you. It is easier to express when there are chubby arms wrapped around your neck and a soft lisp of, "I wuv you, Mama," from baby lips than it is to express when a ten-year-old is yelling disrespect in your face. It is easier to tearfully declare to a someone who has sworn their eternal love to you than it is to imagine loving the person who has hurt you most in your life.
And yet ... this is the love that the real me feels, deep down. This is the love that I know would (and HAS, at times) bubble up without my choosing it to if I could see the whole picture, feel no fear of rejection or being taken advantage of, and reject the lie my ego would tell me that my love is wasted if the person whom I'm loving doesn't love me back in kind. This is the love that I just insist is IN me. And IN you.