me in Assisi, 2009

I spoke this declaration one day, after experiencing a feeling of being misunderstood.

“I am someone who loves.” Simple. Clear. This is who I am.

However, the more I took in this statement, the more complex it became.

Loves what? Loves who? How do I love?

What does any of this actually mean?

Fearlessly, I stepped into this statement and it was like falling into a vortex of memory. Faces, moments, choices, consequences, all of the encounters with love I have ever experienced. It was painful, scary, and — ultimately — enlightening.

I used to confuse my being someone who Loves, with a specific way of loving. Humanly. The human way.

I had conflated little “l” love with Big “L” Love. And then, somehow, forgot that I had done that. Things got really messy when I did that.

Little “l” love is a human experience. Limited. Conditional. At times, fickle.

Big “L” Love is a spiritual experience. Eternal. Unconditional. Never changing.

The difference can be obvious — as in loving pie versus Loving pie (although, I have known pie to be something of a spiritual revelation at times).

It can also — at times — be more subtle. When we love someone, we might also experience Loving them as well. Which might not look the way that person would like it to look. And doesn’t automatically mean that we actually like them.

It’s really not as confusing as that last sentence made it seem.

Loving — with the big “L” — means that Spirit is fully Present, all the way, no negotiations or excuses or dodges.

Forgiveness comes easier. Patience is a given. Seeing (with the Big “S”) others in deeper, more revealing ways. It’s beautiful. It’s, well, it’s what I imagine to be the true definition of heaven.

Little “l” love gets me into dangerous territory.

Expectation, pressure, jealousy, confusion, grudges, cynicism, and a reluctance to grow and change (or allow the other to do the same).

Could be this is just me, of course. I’m willing to accept that. However, I don’t think I am alone in this.

One other aspect of little “l” love that causes the most damage to me is the element of rejection.

When I engage in moments of little “l” love, when I allow myself to get sucked into the experience, I — inevitably — end up feeling hurt and rejected. I am never enough (or so I think). I am not wanted (or so I believe). And I withdraw.

Being someone who Loves — as opposed to someone who little “l” loves — means that I have agreed to the all-access, full-season pass to this amusement park called Life.

It means that I can participate in every attraction — from the fun to the scary to the exciting to the mesmerizing — and I can always know that it is not real.

Or, rather, not big “R” Real.

I can Love how I Love, who I Love, whenever I Love, in the unique and True way that I Love and always feel Safe doing it. (Notice all of those “big” letters!!).

Most of my role models Loved this way:

Brother Francesco of Assisi
Mother Teresa
The Velveteen Rabbit
Doctor Who

Can it feel lonely sometimes? Sure. Only until I remember who I am, though.

Once I remember who I am, that little “l” loneliness melts away in the comforting warmth of my remembering the Truth:

I Am Someone Who Loves.

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Hello! I am an Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister. With my faithful pal, Maddie, I navigate the waters of this life.

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