I never really thought much about the concepts before getting sober. Love was something people gave to me and service was something that I wanted people to do for me. Wait, maybe that was really how love worked also...
It wasn’t until I got sober that I really began to have more than a passing acquaintance with the two.
Love is an action. It really has little to do with how others treat me or do for me. It is how I show up for myself and those that are important in my life. I do for myself because I love myself. I do for others for the same reason. I cannot make anyone love me. I cannot make myself love anyone else, not even myself. And I have learned that the very hardest thing to do is to love me, with all my flaws and issues, trauma, neuroses and scars. It has taken me a lifetime, mine, to see that all that has happened to me has been to crack me open and make me vulnerable to this one thing: loving.
It has not been easy and there have been many times where I wished to never love again. But that is impossible. Love, at least for me, happens inspite of me. And I would say that that is love’s most basic nature. It doesn’t happen because we are worthy and shiny and perfect. Love happens in spite of all the reasons we believe we are unloveable. Love is the most basic and fundamental feeling but is so easily glossed over and missed for all the other feelings clamoring for face time and attention.
Love is how we live. How we show up. Why life is worth living. And it means more, at least to me, every day that I learn to love this flawed and imperfect person that is me. I am always going to fuck stuff up. But no matter what I do, I am either moving towards love or away. And the farther I get from love, the colder my heart feels and the lonelier life is to live.
Service is really an outgrowth of love.
Service is love in action.
We serve because we love. First ourselves, because you have to care enough about you to actually show up for others. Sometimes I think this gets confused, lost and mislabeled. The ego is a great liar. But for me, anyway, I serve because I love. I show up because I love me and I love you.
Before sobriety I couldn’t show up for much of anything except a party or bar. I cared so little about myself and others that the whole of my life was consumed with just wasting it away. Life was something to be escaped, avoided and in the end wasted. It mattered little that I was given this most amazing life...I seemed hellbent on giving it all away, while destroying myself in the process.
Today, I show up, imperfectly, flawed but real. I am here doing my best every day to show up for myself and for those I love and to the organization that saved me from myself.
Today, because of this new way of living, I have been given tools to build a life that I no longer need or wish to escape from. I have everything I need today to grow and love and serve.
And the best thing about love and service is that you can never have too much. I have never been over-loved or over-served (well, except back in my drinking days, but I was the one pouring the poison). And, I believe that you can never give too much. Love is the most basic and fundamental thing that I can offer to anyone. And my ability to do this is completely dependent on my ability to first love this person who is amazing and a mess all at the same time. Love isn’t what I do for me once I have it all together, love is how I show up for me regardless of whether or not I am killing it or completely fucking it up.
Same goes for others. Love is not dependent on the things I get or whether the love is reciprocated. Love is free flowing and available when I get out of the way and let it flow freely. And the most fundamental expression of love, at least to me, is service.
Love in action is service. I do because I love. And I love because I do. The two are inextricably intertwined. And that is the best blessing I have ever received.