So strong it can be gentle all the time



We talk bollocks so much of the time!  For example: “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

On a personal note, what came close to killing me has never made me think I was strong (or am now “stronger”).  I look back and am amazed to see how during some very tough times I simply managed to get through them.  I look back and hope I never have to live again anything like those tough times ever again.  I have never looked back and admired myself in what I learned, gained or took from those times.  And yet I have been told that same thing a few times in my lifetime: “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”


What I have come to realise – and this only with hindsight – is that almost every shitty part of my life happens to others.  And if not the same shitty stuff, then stuff that evokes similar thoughts, feelings and responses: that I should be strong, that I must look on the bright side, that I ought to be grateful, that I must be kind, that life goes on and so should I …

I guess we tell each other – and ourselves – that bollocks for a good reason.  But right then in that moment it is simply another burden to add to the already inhumane burden I am already carrying.  And being told to be – or thinking we should be – the “better person” can be the straw that breaks me. 

I find myself listening to another’s pain and hearing-seeing-feeling shitty stuff.  I find myself not comparing their “shitty stuff” with “proper” shitty stuff” like what I went through.  I remember that in those moments I wanted to cry, to scream, to have someone come along and fix it, to have someone hug me better, to have someone listen to my anger and still be there calm and supportive … to not be judged in my worst moments. That is what I wanted.

I have learned to call that “love”.  A word we use too infrequently in case someone takes it the wrong way and sticks a ton of “sexual baggage” all over those four letters – because it usually means lifelong commitment (i.e. obligation) … and then God help us all!

When I was a student-Christian I was told there were four words for love in the Greek (or another of the “original” biblical languages). Great intellectual theological pride is taken in academically dissecting which one of the four is being applied in which verse. 

Like it makes a difference.

I have come to learn that love is love.  I have come to learn that once I buy-into the intellectually pleasing dissection of love I must be detached from you and me and love.  That “love” becomes a head thing and “kindness” becomes a transaction – that your response to me and my kindness is measured and counted by both of us.

And that isn’t love at all.

I also hear this a lot: “On it own, love is not enough.”  Usually from those who are biblically correct.  That “we” need rules and reward-punishment for those who break the rules.  Because there are bad people out their (you of course – never “me” which I find odd).  That “bad people” cannot love me like I love them. 

Hmmmm ….  

I have learned that if I love you I see you neither “good or bad” – I just see “you”.  That in those moments “you” is really just another “me”.  Just in your own clothing, your own life, and your living all these years.  I have learned that when I love you in those moments I see “us” – I see me in you and you in me.

That is what both the shitty and good stuff has taught me.

I have yet to meet anyone who lived without love in the life.  We all live life looking for and hoping for love.  Love so much more than I have in my life at the moment.  Not one of our types but this …  

Love without condition.

Love that is without transaction and fear.  Love that isn’t investment and reward-punishment.  Love that is one word not four.  Love that carries no need to “fit in” but frees me and you to be “me and you”.  Love that is so strong it can be gentle all the time.  Love is strong when I take away the “which one of four” is this.

And something else I have learned in these pandemic times (which makes me chuckle at the “love is not enough” believers) … 

We love to break the rules.  We have to break the rules.  We have to break the rules we don’t like just to think we are free to be me! 

Just to be free.

Except we each like and don’t like different rules.

Hello debate and division! 

But love doesn’t have to do anything because love “is”.   Take away the sexual-commitment-baggage-intellectual-dissection … and love just “is”.

And that is stronger than rules.  And that is why for me – love is always enough.

If I allow.

It took me decades to learn to differentiate bollocks from love.  So if you still confuse the two – why should I convince you that you’re wrong?

Because that isn’t love either.




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