“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Not too long ago during a conversation with several people around I heard a friend use the word coward about himself. I could not have disagreed more at the time, but I let the conversation play out and observed. I had saved this quote for quite some time, and finally I wanted to pull it out into the light and explore it a little.
Every day takes courage. Some people get into the grind, the routine of it all, the rat race and just move forward… to others it takes a little more effort to face what the day brings. Some people seem to have it easier than others on the energy department, others in the physical. Living takes courage, every day, but what takes even more courage is loving others.
I have seen people afraid to do many things, but the only people that I consider cowards are those that are afraid of love. I think all other good traits in life stem from love. I never imagined that people would be so afraid of receiving love, but in my life I have encountered quite a few.
Interestingly enough there are many people that give love freely, but have a real hard time accepting love. I only know of one case of someone that refused to give love and receive it, not just to one person but to pretty much everyone around them. Many people are selective of who they love, but for the most part there is someone in their life that they can share that with. Some others give love only to those they trust, and I admit loving your enemy is a concept that I have not quite mastered.
The quote from Gandhi has the word exhibit which makes it a little more complex. It takes a lot of courage to ask that girl out that you might have known for a while, or to forgive that relative that has said dumb things to you or to other people you know. It takes a lot of courage to expose your heart and let others in, but even more so to offer it to another human being.
My conversations with my mother in law always come to the same conclusion, love is the most powerful force in the universe. She told me once that faith can conquer it all, and at the time I did doubt it. The situation that she had referred to was just one that I had written off as impossible. Love did win the battle in the end in that situation and made me a little more hopeful about a lot of things in life. I understand that to exhibit love we have to first be capable of feeling it.
I sometimes laugh at the thought of being too sensitive. I learned how to shut down my feelings completely, and for a period of my life I did just that. The I realized that shutting down my feelings also meant not being able to give or receive love freely. I still wrestle with the idea of trusting too much, giving too much, opening myself too much… in the end, I feel that taking the chance is better because, more often than not the love is reciprocated and life for me becomes that much better.