The Carving up of Your Heart

How many pieces can you spare?

First comes the definition of love. For me, it means giving away a piece of my heart, a piece you never expect to be returned. Love is not what you get from something but instead it is what you give away, freely. It’s taking your eyes off of your own wants, needs and desires and focusing them instead on the needs of the object of your love.

Love has a calming effect, as if all is right with the world. There is no desperation, no panic. Those are signs of infatuation and not love. Trust me, I have learned that lesson well, a lesson that stole years from my life. The type of love of which I speak is not simply a romantic love, although, it certainly can be. This love that lasts can include children, grandchildren and the closest of friends. It is a love that stays with you forever, that warms your soul and become a memory etched in place for an eternity. To each, you carve off a slice of your heart that stays with them in their safe keeping. Miraculously, cutting away that slice does not leave a hole behind, only a gap that will be filled by the love you receive from others. It is the original barter system.

What has brought this on today is reviewing my life with my children. There certainly have been moments of hurt and anger, times of separation and distance, but from the moment you witness their entrance into your life, said life will never be the same. The love is instantaneous and deep and never waivers. You begin as their provider of life, you feed them, change their diaper, provide safety and comfort. It grows to emotional guidance and life education and as they fly from the nest, you remain available for whatever support they need. Maybe it’s an ear to listen, advice offered or financial assistance, but interlaced within all acts of giving is a new expression of love, another way to say, I’ve got your back.

While I have no grandchildren of my own, I have heard how that same love is magically created on day one and it’s just as sweet the second time around. I have had the joy of sharing the grandchildren of a significant other and you can’t help but to find yourself giving away your heart all over again.

So, to the original question, how many pieces of your heart can you give away? My answer is that whatever you give unselfishly in love and service, comes back to you ten-fold. The more you love others, the more will love you. The more you serve others, the more will serve you. By that equation, the number of slices you can pass out has no related figure other than, infinity.

With that in mind, my advice is don’t wait for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to express your love. Don’t wait for birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day to remind others how much you appreciate their love. Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to be thankful or Christmas to be a singular day of giving. Love every day, serve others as to their needs and you will never be alone, never feel unwanted and never wonder where you reside on the priority list of others. Love and it comes back, reach out to others and the favor will be returned. As for all the slices you have given away, you will never spend a moment missing them.

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