“Your greatest strength is love,” said the tag on my tea bag this morning.
And for some reason, it stopped me. I read my tea bag tags every morning and afternoon, and usually I just nod in agreement – the adages are always pleasant enough – and move right on.
But today was different. As I flipped the tag over on my way up the stairs to my office, I stopped abruptly, the words hitting me hard.
“Of course it is,” I thought. “Why don’t I use it more?”
I think about my physical strengths constantly. In yoga class, pulling hard on my heels in pada-mustasana, I think about my engaging biceps and locking my knees. Climbing, I think about my core, core, core. Running, I think about my quads. Even at work, sitting on my ball at my desk, I think about straightening my spine, sitting tall, dropping my shoulders….it’s never-ending.
But all those things are limited. I only have so much physical strength, and when it’s tapped, that’s it. I can’t give any more.
But love and compassion? Those wells run so deep I don’t believe I’ve ever touched the bottom. This morning, cleaning Arnie’s ears (he is getting over a nasty ear infection), I thought, “I would do this every day – ten times a day – if that’s what it took to keep Arnie healthy and happy.”
And kissing Brad goodbye, I said, “Call me if you need anything today.” And now, remembering that, I realize that I’d stop everything to help him, to make sure he’s as happy as possible….
And that’s totally true, though, I suppose I don’t always show it. I don’t allow my love to be stronger than all the other, weaker emotions I’m feeling.
And sure, “we’re always hardest on those we love,” or whatever that expression is…but what a lame thing to say—and an even lamer to practice. I’m guilty of it, of course. Poor Brad withstands my wrath when it’s 11pm and I have to get up at 4:30 to fit a run in before yoga and I can’t sleep and “why is it so goddamn hot in this room?” Or when were climbing and he makes a minor suggestion that will only help me but I get defensive and angry and storm off and leave him there, partner-less.
Christ, I’m hard on him. The poor guy. There are times when he’d be justified in doubting my bottomless well of love.
I’ve always been strong. Strong muscles, strong back, strong will (to an extent). Even at my least fit I can do a dozen pull-ups and the Lord of the Dance pose.
So if love is my GREATEST strength – stronger than my shoulders and my quads and my arm-wrestling prowess – imagine what I could do with it.
…If I put it to use; if I let it beat all the other bullshit that clouds my judgment.