I want you to love me not because I need your love, but because I want you to feel that uncontrolled, unabashed love for someone, pouring from you so that it spills everywhere you look, touching everyone you encounter; the sky, the wild grasses growing in the vacant lot, the mother sitting at the bus stop with her child in her lap.
I want you to love me, not for me but for you. The feeling of love for another (being) is much more powerful than the receiving of love. I know it. I have felt it so many times.
I feel it for my children, my parents, my husband, you. I feel it on the playground, in the classroom, when I look at the ocean and see a seal swimming cautiously towards me, nostrils flaring open and closed. I feel it when I look up at the sky at 5am and the stars shine brilliantly , sometimes shooting or winking in waves of love returned. I feel it when you make jokes , when you drip the milk out of your mouth, when you draw. I am in love with you, with all of you; rocks, soil, air, trees; kids, playgrounds, compost bins and classrooms, paintbrushes, pin backs, purring sounds and fur.
Love me, so you can gush like I do, wanting to give and give and give with no desire to recover "losses", for the love is payment with interest, and I am RICH beyond measure.
Yesterday, as I was driving out of my neighborhood, I approached a kid on a bike. As I got ahead of him, I saw that it was Christian, a sixth grader at Hope, where I work three days a week as a noon aide. At the beginning of the year, Christian had a chip on his shoulder. He would depart the lunch tables without being excused, leaving pieces of tinfoil and plastic in his wake. He would do it over and over again. He is not the only one. Recently, Christian was throwing a football with his friend Issac on the blacktop after lunch. I approached Issac, asked for the ball and threw it to Cristian. My spiral was a wobble. I caught Cristian's perfect pass then asked Isaac if I could make one more throw. Still wobbly. Christian started calling me "bad thrower" when I would greet his table at lunch. He lives in my neighborhood and last week he and another sixth grade boy, Daniel, asked if they could play basketball in our driveway. I said yes, as long as they protect my garden, which is nearby. Daniel, who was very shy last year with me, rarely making eye contact, now goes out of his way to say,"hi Shelley." he adds regularly, "you are a good neighbor."
As I waved at Christian from the driver's seat of my car, as I do to all the kids I know by name from Hope School, my heat gushes with love for him (and them). I got this flash that I want the same for them, to feel that gushing of love, that just makes you love everyone and everything. I asked myself, "do I throw the football, kick the soccer ball, shoot hoops, paint with water colors, make and pass out pins at school because I want them to like me? No. The answer came. I want them to LOVE me. NOT FOR ME, but FOR THEM.