Learn by Doing – Love’s Motto

My alma mater’s motto is, ‘Learn by doing.’ One of the better qualities of this is hands-on experience. One of the lesser qualities is mistakes. I don’t like mistakes. I don’t like being wrong, being embarrassed, and I especially don’t like having to do it again.

What can I say…I’m lazy.

So sometimes I don’t do it. If I can’t get it right the first time, forget it. If it is hard, if it takes a long time, two steps forward, one step back, I’ll linger in the doorway, hoping someone else takes the first step. Please don’t make me do it.

Enters LOVE.

Love is a mystic force that drives the most mule-headed, lazy people (me) to do things they wouldn’t have dreamed they would ever do. For example, waking up at 4am to pack your husband’s suitcase so he can sleep an extra hour. Or driving to the 24-hour drug store at 2am in the morning to buy medicine for a child’s earache. Or sitting on the floor in the bathroom at night with a son who has an upset stomach. (If you haven’t caught on, lazy people (me) like to sleep.)

Love takes the place of lazy. The sleepless nights, the headaches, the graying of hair is all worth it for the sake of love. The more I live for my family out of love, the more my lazy turns into love.

Love is an action – love is doing. We learn to love by loving. When I was first married, when I had my first child, I couldn’t fathom spreading out my love over eight people. All of my love was consumed in my little 3 person family, and most of it, sadly, on myself. Now some of the useless self-love has lost its grip and given way for new fertile selfless love, extending beyond what I thought love was.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Give, but give until it hurts.” She knew, just like Our Lord knew, what selfless love was, what it meant to love beyond self. She loved each withered hand, each empty belly, each aching heart that she encountered. Jesus loved the entire world to death.

A favorite prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola sums up love by loving.

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.


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