Reflecting on my journey of healing this week led me to the conclusion that Love Heals. When I started my healing journey, I hadn’t looked too far ahead, I just knew I needed to feel better. I could no longer live with the emotional pain that seemed to be dominating my life in my 20’s.
I longed to be less agitated and more at peace with myself. I hated the constant feeling of uneasiness and low self-confidence. I appeared confident on the exterior (most of the time), and I was doing ok in life.
I was nursing, had plenty of friends, good relationships, and enough money to do what I wanted to do. I just couldn’t shift that low-grade depression that hovered over me like a dark cloud.
I had a lot of inner conflict over this, as I knew I was a happy, positive person and I wanted to do so much with my life, but the heaviness was such a burden. I knew I needed help!
I had fairly good self-awareness, and I knew for certain that I did not want to become a miserable person as I had seen too many people like that.
I knew in my heart and soul that I was on a quest for TOTAL HEALING. I was going to feel better, and I believed it would happen one day.
My journey started with an awareness that I needed to change. I was just going through the motions of life and most of what I was doing wasn’t what I really enjoyed. I had hardly any choices when I left school, so I just took whatever opportunities presented themself to me.
I often felt I was going against my higher self and I lived that way for years, forcing myself to do a job I didn’t really like because I didn’t know what else to do.
Finally, in my late 20’s I knew I just had to do something or I would die, yes my soul would die. I started to look out for people who inspired me, or I thought about people I had met before who sparked a desire for freedom in me.
I started to take some chances to befriend such people. How had they found happiness, when I felt so indifferent, only finding temporary pleasures here and there. It felt so unsatisfying.
Gradually, as I got to meet more of these people, I discovered that they were always happy to help me. They would direct me this way and that way, recommend a book, a course, a church, a piece of music, or a retreat, etc. It was wonderful!
I started to get well from the love I was receiving. It moved me in a whole new direction.
When I was at my lowest point, I stayed in the hospital for a few weeks, where I encountered nurses and doctors at the heart of their vocation. I was a nurse too, but I was burnt out, I had given a lot.
To receive from them was a true blessing because not only was I healing through their love and care, but I also came to realize how significant my job as a nurse had been.
I felt God was showing me that I too had given to people in their time of need. God had seen my work, and now I was receiving from others, the same care that I had given to many before.
What is Love?
The Four Loves (Greek Names)
In the book The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis explores the nature of love from a Christian and philosophical perspective through thought experiments. The book was based on a set of radio talks from 1958 which had been criticised in the U.S. at the time for their frankness about sex. (Wikipedia)
1. Storge Love: (empathy bond) – this is the natural love and affection between parents and children and siblings. It’s also referred to as family love. This love is based on familiarity, close contact over a long period of time. C. S. Lewis, the author of the book, The Four Loves describes storge love as a dependency-based love that is at risk of extinction if the needs cease to be met.
2. Philia Love: (friend bond) – this is the love between friends as close as siblings in length and duration. Friendship is a strong bond between people who share common values, beliefs, and interests. Lewis describes friendship as “the least biological, organic, instinctive, gregarious and necessary…the least natural of loves”.
“Our species does not need friendship in order to reproduce, but to the classical and medieval worlds it is a higher-level love, because it is freely chosen.” (Wikipedia.org)
C. S. Lewis feels that friendship is undervalued in modern society and even quite rare to find and many do not even know the meaning of true friendship. He goes on to say that friendships like David and Jonathan in the Bible are almost a lost art.
3. Eros: (romantic love) – Many scholars say, The Song of Songs is a love dialogue between a man and woman, praising and wooing each other and recounting the highlights of their love (erotic love), however, other scholars say it refers to the love between man and God.
For Lewis, Eros meant, ‘being in love’ with someone, as opposed to the raw sexuality of what he called Venus. He goes on to say how Eros in all his splendor could lead to evil and is not as neutral a force as ‘being in love’ is.
4. Agape Love: (God’s love) – unconditional
“The highest and most noble form of love is reserved for the love that God has for us. Agape, pronounced uh-GAH-pay, is what Jesus demonstrated on the cross for us by sacrificing his life and taking on the entire burden of sin for all mankind so that we could have life everlasting with Him in Heaven.” (GEB.tv)
Also called Charity, it is the love that exists regardless of changing circumstances. Human love is very shallow, it is limited, whereas God’s love is limitless. It’s never-ending.
This selfless love is the greatest of the four loves. Once we experience this love, all our other relationships will improve and be based less on dependency, but more on a desire to love for the sake of loving.
God’s Love Goes Deep Into Wounds that Only He Can Heal
While a lot of the emotional work is done through relationships, there is always a work in us that needs to be done by God Himself. I am beginning to recognize the difference now.
Sometimes we need the love of a family member for support and comfort, and the familiarity that that brings.
Then, we need a good connection with friends who know us differently. I like to laugh and be silly with my friends as laughter lifts my spirit and helps me to unwind.
Then, the experience of romantic love heals us differently again. I think it’s the tenderness of this love that frees us from the monotony of daily life and adds that spark of joy, excitement, and adventure. It’s a special love between a man and a woman as it involves care and affection, which can be both comforting and healing.
But, above all these loves is the love of God – AGAPE LOVE. God, of course, is behind every connection we make, but to come close to His love is truly where the deep healing takes place. Prayer and worship heal. Abiding in His love heals also.
I have come to recognize when it’s time for this deeper healing from God Himself. It comes at different stages of the journey.
AGAPE LOVE HEALS
The other three kinds of love cannot supernaturally remove our limitations or mend our brokenness.
At the right time, when God feels we are ready, He can remove those inner blocks that prevent us from living fully, but we must be in tune with the Spirit. If we refuse to sit in the uncomfortable feelings that are drawing us closer to Him, we might miss our healing.
You have to want to heal and you have to know that you need love for this healing to occur. You need the love of God to be completely healed.
The Holy Spirit can soften and melt the most hardened heart. It takes humility to ask for His healing mercies.
Resist the temptation to run from your pain. Instead, face it and bring it to the altar and ask for His healing.
“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”