How do you love? Each of us has a love language according to Dr. Chapman. We love differently when our child is two years old than when they are 32 years old. The love is the same; yet, the way we love looks different. As you reflect on the many relationships you’ve been involved in through the years, you would discover a myriad of different stories that include passion, heartbreak, and sometimes a combination of emotions. You’ve walked away from some relationships that were toxic, and you’ve endured the seasons of many relationships through grace and growth.
Going deeper into relationship exchanges through reading and conversation, I scheduled time with a friend to catch up and learn from her. We talked about work, family, and spiritual longings. It did not occur to me in the moment that our conversation was a reflection of years of discussing and praying. After the conversation, I realized that we both have moved from control to authentic love. I can still see her face in the hallway of a hotel during a work event. The comments shared over hurt and lack of control. We shared similar stories. Work carried us away to focus on the tasks at hand. Fast forward 5 years and here we sit in a shared discovery of authentic love.
“At times we have fallen in love with someone’s potential instead of who the person actual is. Authentic love requires that people have the freedom to show up as their authentic selves. Real love is rooted in truth, and truth is key to the homecoming journey.” (Dr. Thema Bryant, pg. 40)
“Can you tell yourself the truth that there have been times when you had goals for others that they did not have for themselves, that you wanted them to be different from who they consistently chose to be? So today homecoming is choosing to see what is, not just what we want, and living from a place of truth.” (Dr. Thema Bryant, pg.42)
The older you become the more you can make connections to past stories and events and bring them full circle, or connect the meanings. I’m thankful for friends who share their stories and their progress. She noted that when her focus became more on who the person wanted to be versus what she wanted for them (all good things by the way), she was able to let go and love deeper. I agreed.
Truth is a good place to love from and heal. When we let go of our constant control and expectations for someone, it frees us up to love and heal. To have conversations that go beyond disappointment to discovery and hopefully change that creates better communication. For me, it’s given me the space to breathe, listen, love, and let go. I believe it is a life long work. This letting go. Letting go with understanding, boundaries, and joy is a daily practice for me.
Thank you my friend for sharing your heart. Thank you Dr. Bryant for your work and book called Homecoming that has been perfect timing in my life. Thank you God for never giving up on me and my forever learning.