I’ve spent a lot of wasted time expecting people to be different.
Expecting them to be thankful or honest.
Expecting them to love unconditionally or be tolerant without question.
Expecting them to be compassionate, self-less or encouraging.
Expecting them to apologize.
But mostly, I think I’ve just spent a lot of wasted time being disappointed, time that would have been better spent giving wholly of myself without expecting anything in return.
As I crossed over the 40-something threshold a couple of years ago, my perspective changed. My focus became less about being and more about doing. My mind’s eye has finally partnered with my heart’s desire, working together to hopefully leave this world a better place than I found it and without any expectation of being recognized for my efforts.
Give without getting.
Forgive without an apology.
Trust without hesitation.
Help without judgement.
Love without condition.
The more I work through my days looking for opportunities to do good, the lighter my spirit becomes and the more relaxed my body feels. Holding on to anger, disappointment and frustration is cumbersome and suffocating. It weighs heavy on your heart, puts a physical ache in your bones, making it hard to feel anything else.
Some days take more effort than others.
Some days seem effortless.
Just a month after our foster child came to live with us, I found myself saying “I love you” as I tucked him into bed at night. It felt natural, especially after putting The Tortoise and The Hare to bed. I know my words of affection carried through the house, and it pained me greatly to think of this little Peanut going to sleep at night without the reminder that they are loved. One night as I whispered “I love you” and gave a quick kiss on the cheek, arms suddenly wrapped around my neck, keeping me from pulling away.
Our eyes locked.
Our breath in unison.
“Is it okay that I don’t tell you that I love you back?” Peanut whispered.
“Of course, little one, ” I replied, “How you feel about me doesn’t change how I feel about you.”
Peanut pulled me closer, hugging me tightly.
“Is it okay that I love you?” I asked.
I could feel a smile press against my cheek.
“Sure,” Peanut said, “and you never know, if you say it enough I might even say it back one day.”