True love is not selfish. Which is my biggest problem with true love. It’s just so hard not to be focused on myself at all times. Even when I’m dealing with other people—kids, grandkids, husband—I’m very likely to be thinking about how I’m doing as I care for others. It’s discouraging, how, after all these years of Christian faith and practice, I scramble back to square one, titled, “Me, me, me.”
Most of my arguments with my husband can be traced back to my indignation because he doesn’t do things the way I think they should be done. We have different ideas about household tasks, about how to drive and which route to take, and so on and on and on. If he’d just straighten up and think the way I do, everything would get better.
If I measure my love by how much I focus on others rather than on myself, then I have an ongoing impetus for humility and prayer. I’m actually pretty good at doing a number of things, from writing and editing to cooking and problem-solving. If love had to do with competence, I’d have a pretty good record at love. But because I must measure love by its openness, its willingness to give, to receive, to listen, to relinquish preferences and willfulness, I know—every day, every hour—that I cannot love well without help. And not just any help. If I am to love well, I am desperate for the Divine to inhabit me and train my responses, my habits, my very desires and priorities.
What have I learned about true love? That I must keep learning.