Love grows in some pretty ugly places. In the mud and clay and even the sand in some deserts, you will find seeds sprouting and growing. Even in places where there is almost no other beauty, seeds will grow. Give them warmth and water and a little attention and they may even flourish.
We sometimes forget that the same is true in our lives. We think love always grows in beauty—in the fine soil of a fertilized garden, in the tidy rows that are arranged, tended, and pruned there.
But no, life is messy and humans are predictably broken. Only a few are not messy at least every once in a while, and they are probably just not aware of how muddled up they can be...
But that isn't even the point of today's thoughts. Today my focus is stronger, more concentrated than the idea that love grows in messy, mucky places.
Sometimes the BEST growth takes place in those places. Sometimes love grows BECAUSE things are not great. Sometimes we have to stop and reassess and decide that love is worth it. And that is when it grows best—when we intentionally give it the warmth and nourishment from deliberate effort.
People get into trouble. Kids, teenagers, adults...we all mess up. When someone loves us in our mess, we know it.
If in the mess, in the disappointment, in the misunderstandings, we choose to say—even though this is not what I thought it would be or hoped for, I choose to love you. And if in this moment I can clearly convey that you matter to me—just you, not your achievement or the happiness you give me or the life we have dreamed of creating together. Not all that. But you. Just you, you matter.
If in a moment of a muddy, messy, rainstorm in a garden that is begging to be weeded—if I can say, "Yes, you matter to me." Then yes, this is where love is growing in our lives.
I write on how humans develop and grow through challenges we face. I've divided this into three categories--Growing Love is about relationships and how we create conditions for growth despite the inevitable challenges. Cloudburst is about grief, specifically—which is a tricky topic. We need to keep growing but pushing is the opposite of helpful. And in Dancing on Hot Sand I talk about personal inner growth in hard places—spiritual growth, without sounding religious, I hope.