The dog lays on her back, belly up, exposed and vulnerable, her little sad doggie eyes begging you for a belly scratch. All the while her little doggie brain is chanting, if you really loved me, you'd stop what you're doing, bend over and scratch my belly until I'm fully content.
Yeah, you heard it. It's the sound of a cynical Valentine's Day post approaching.
I'm not anti-love or anti-special-day or anything like that, but a day like Valentine's is so loaded. Thanks to media and our own imaginations, we let ourselves be set up. Even when we know better, we get a little caught up in all the expectations.
We become like my dog, lying pathetically on our backs, belly side up, begging for someone to scratch our itch.
But it doesn't work that way. Even in a real love relationship, no matter what kind, marriage, parent-child, friend, it doesn't matter, it doesn't work that way.
Okay, here's what I mean. I'll use The Mr. and I as the example.
The Mr. is not responsible for my happiness. I am not responsible for his.
We certainly choose to do things that delight the other, on purpose, even when they are things we personally don't love. But, ultimately, even when I do the things for him that make his heart sing, he chooses whether or not he is happy about it or with it. He chooses whether or not to see love in it. The reverse is true for me too.
It's the same for parents and kids too. I can choose to hear the things my mom and dad say to me, (yes, even now at 39) as things that hurt and cut or I can look for their love and good intentions in between the words. It's the same for me as the momma. I can hear the things my kids say to me, the things they choose to do or not do as slights and arrows, or I can look hard and choose to believe the love is there.
We hear it all the time in sermons, love is an action, but it's often left off the part about love being our action. We have to let ourselves find it and believe it. In a pure way, not in a cynical testing way.
If we are forever looking at the people we love and holding out an invisible unknown test for them, the mysterious and un-satisfiable test of if you really loved me you would...
I know, it's not fair. We all have those moments where we wonder and doubt and think to ourselves, wow, I thought that person knew me better, knew me enough that they would know the way to show me they loved me would be if they did X or said Y. But we both know, that's not how it is.
So there. There it is in print. This year's cynical Valentine post. Your little kick in the heart shape booty.
You choose. Are you going to see, feel and find the love all around you or are you going to just sit back and say, If you really loved me, you would...