“We love because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19

Love can get so complicated. So much fear of giving love and losing a bit of ourselves if we get hurt. So much manipulation – I will love you so that you will love me. So much disappointment – You don’t love me enough.

Our daughter, Mary Addison, is mentally and physically challenged and she has shown me how to love.

One of Mary A’s favorite past times is to go to very busy places and say “Hi!” to people – total strangers. Her “Hi!” or “Hello!” is very exuberant and is often accompanied by a flailing wave.  She wants to be sure the message is delivered, the connection made. When someone waves or speaks back, she is thrilled.  Absolutely tickled. Then she usually blows that person a kiss or if they are close enough she will hug them.  It’s always quite a celebration.  Like old friends reuniting.

Too often, however, people will look right at her waving and smiling at them and turn away as if they did not see her or judging her actions as inappropriate. I get mad and want to say, “What? Are you insecure or just rude? What would it cost you to just say hello?” But I don’t. I bite my tongue. But the most amazing response is Mary’s toward the people who choose to ignore her. She says, “Oh, darn,” and there is no personal offense.  She is actually sad for the person who missed out on receiving her gift of love and recognition.

Mary knows she is loved unconditionally and so she loves unconditionally. It is just a free-flowing stream with no strings attached.  She doesn’t want anything from anyone. She just wants to love.

Lord, teach me to love with great abandon, like Mary does. Not guarding or hoarding my love, just letting it flow freely all over everyone, loving because I know I am loved.