Love and Fear

Some­times when my son hugs me, I feel com­plete­ly hum­bled and unde­serv­ing of the love he shares with me. My love for him pours out in an unstop­pable and unend­ing tor­rent; it is easy to love him because it is invol­un­tary. My love for him is so con­sum­ing that I don’t have the spare neu­rons to expect any­thing back. So, when it comes back in the shape of his smile, its like get­ting the wind knocked out of you — it is bewil­der­ing, ter­ri­fy­ing. So, when Chris­tians talk about liv­ing in fear of the Lord, I imag­ine it’s a fear engen­dered by being over­whelmed by a love you don’t under­stand.

Love can make you hum­ble when you receive it, but it can also make you hum­ble when you give it. Some­times you give, and some­times it gets pulled from you. You can­not con­trol it, you are over­awed by it, you fear look­ing at your face, fear your lips, fear your hands because you’re not sure what they’ll do. Fear that the love will cause itself harm, or harm to those it is intend­ed for, or that it might not be received at all.

But this ter­ror noth­ing com­pared to when your love is received and then giv­en back to you. Love is hon­or­ing some­one more than your­self, it liv­ing for some­one or some­thing else, some­thing beyond you. It’s not real­ly sur­pris­ing then, that, when the per­son you love also loves you, that the acknowl­edge­ment and recep­tion of that affec­tion is con­found­ing. How could I, who am con­vinced that this per­son is more impor­tant to me than my own being, com­pre­hend that they might feel a sim­i­lar way about me. How could I be wor­thy?

That must be like stand­ing inside a bell as it is rung. For what could sus­tain love bet­ter than receiv­ing it back, ampli­fied, from the one you give it to?

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