There is a difference between doing something out of love and doing some to be loved.
When I've taken an action out of love, there are no strings attached. It's a pure, altruistic act that feels good just in taking it. There are no expectations of return. The latter is an act that I do for love and attention. When it's not received well or received at all, I feel hurt and rejected.
Once upon a time, he told me his favorite pie was blackberry pie. His birthday rolled around. I invited a few close friends for dinner. I made blackberry pie and a plate full of brownies for dessert. He told me he didn't like cake.
A long-time friend of his passed by the pie and smiled, "It's his favorite
!" she whispered in my ear.
" I replied.
After dinner, dessert was self-serve. Friends who tried the pie raved about it. He never touched it. Later I commented, "I thought blackberry pie was your favorite. You didn't even try it."
"I said raspberry,"
Something twisted in my chest.
At the next dinner, I made red raspberry pie for dessert. Again, he didn't eat the pie. I asked, "Didn't you say you liked raspberry pie?
" was the answer.
That thing in my chest took a deeper turn.
For the next holiday dinner, another family member made cherry pie. He ate a piece and raved how it was the perfect combination of sweet and sour. He even saved a piece for later.
That thing in my chest burrowed out of sight.
I wish I could tell you that I rose above myself. I wish I could tell you that I stopped baking pies for his approval, out of love for him and baked pies for the sheer love of baking but I didn't. I just stopped baking pies.
That was years ago. Now looking back I can see that I was baking pies as love offerings in the hopes of receiving love and attention in return. And, I can see how sad it is that he couldn't receive the gift of my pies.
What do you do for love and attention? Is there something burrowed in your heart?
Photo by Dustin J. Williams on Flickr.com