“Love….wants to be asked for what it longs to give.” (Richard Foster) I read this today in last week’s weekly post from Renovare’ which I receive by email. It was referring to God and prayer, but I also find it applicable to any relationship.
Reciprocation is at the heart of any true and lasting relationship, be it a husband/wife, family, friendships, as well as our relationship with God. Love that is one-sided simply ends up hurting us as the individual who is actually loving the other. I would say that it even causes us to morph into different versions of our truest selves, as we attempt to please the other and “get them to reciprocate” in like fashion as we are giving in the relationship.
I’ve had various relationships of this nature over the course of my life. Some I’ve chosen to continue to pour into, as I’m able, simply because of the foundation of the original relationship or out of legitimate love and concern for the other. There have been times I’ve simply had to back off and re-define the boundaries of the relationship so that I could remain healthy but not completely break a bond or sever a tie to someone who hadn’t done me any harm beyond simply being a “taker” and not returning to the relationship reciprocally. Yet, there have been some with whom I’ve broken all connections, seeing their true nature and accepting that no matter what I did there would be nothing to change their hearts towards true reciprocity in friendship with me.
When I read the quote today, about love wanting to be asked for what it longs to give, I thought of how I sometimes will offer someone an open invitation to come and visit, fully hoping they will do so someday, or I’ve told friends I’m always available to them if they will just call or text, and I truly have meant that. Yet, it’s seldom that someone does reach out and ask, rare that someone admits their need and becomes vulnerable enough to “phone a friend”. I admit that there have been times in my life that I held back as well, keeping my problems or needs to myself so as not to overwhelm others.
However, my closest friends will tell you that I’ve learned to reach out to them in my hour of need, if for nothing else than to ask for prayer support. Sometimes, it’s to ask for more, a chance to visit or have a meal together, etc. I will admit though that I have never looked at asking for help quite the same as I am considering it now that I read that quote from Richard Foster. I think I’ve held back in asking from those who love me the most, sometimes thinking that they should know without me asking…. I’m feeling I’ve been wrong in that, and I need to let the Spirit do some work in me to change me.
This goes right along with one of my favorite movie quotes, from Moulin Rouge, which is actually from a song by Nat King Cole, written by Eden Ahbez, call “Nature Boy”. The line says, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” Doesn’t this just fit? It applies to all relationships, and really to all people we may encounter.
Love in this life is imperfect and flawed, but still, it’s love, and that’s why God created all of us, out of His great love, springing from the love between the Father, Son, and Spirit. We’re made to love Him and to love each other, in give and take relationships, to know and be known, to love and be loved in return… Just love each other, and leave the rest to God.