Will You Choose to Escape or Will You Choose to Love More?
“Faced with today’s problems and disappointments, many people will try to escape from their responsibility. Escape in selfishness, escape in sexual pleasure, escape in drugs, escape in violence, escape in indifference and cynical attitudes. I propose to you the option of love, which is the opposite of escape.” – Pope John Paul II
Escape is always an option. Love is another. But why is it that when faced with difficult struggles, we often choose to escape instead of choosing to love more?
Why do we choose to escape?
I have chosen the first path many times. It is not so much as being the easier path, but it seemed the natural path we fall into when we fall apart from our weaknesses. Whenever our strength runs out and our hope fades, we cling on to the closest things we could hold on to just to get by, or at least, to numb away the emptiness we feel inside. These things are our means of escape, though eventually, they become shackles that bind us to lives we don’t really want.
Anyone who breaks off friendship with Jesus, casting off his “easy yoke”, does not maintain liberty, does not become free, but succumbs to other powers. – Pope Benedict XVI
When we try to escape, we also leave behind the things that truly matter to us.
What is it that we really want? Deep within us, we know the answer. Deep within us, we know that we aspire for the best things. We want the good, the pure and the beautiful. We desire meaningful lives that enable us to grow into better persons inside and out.
Somewhere along the way though, a disappointment robs us of our ideals. It’s like we can’t believe anymore that we can have those things.
When we escape, we settle for second best
When we think we can’t have the best things, the authentic desires of our heart, we learn to settle for the second best. And these things are just often that, “things” we could “possess”. We then learn to exchange things for people, possessions for relationships and pleasure for true happiness.
“There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets ‘things’ with a deep and fierce passion.”
We become addicted to possessions because we fool ourselves into believing that they could satisfy our desires within. Even if we feel that they couldn’t fully do so, we fool ourselves again by trying to have more, much more, and this cycle never ends.
When we choose the path of love
How different it would have been had we only chosen love and stood up for it no matter the struggles and the challenges. By choosing the path of love, we are not assured of a bed of roses, but then we could be certain that we’re not filling the empty spaces in our hearts with lesser gods and lesser things. We can be certain that we’d have the chance to get what we truly want. We could have meaningful lives. We could live fully and our joy would be complete!
How do we choose love?
We choose love when we stay true to who we are and what we really want. We choose love when we start acting out of compassion and joy, not out of our fears, not even out of obligation.
When a relationship undergoes a crisis, but we still hold on and try to fix things instead of walking away, we choose love.
When we’re trying to reach a dream, and we encounter oppositions, criticisms and challenges along the way but we choose to focus on that dream and not be disheartened, we choose love.
When a loved one gets sick, and we hurt so much seeing them that way, but we still choose to take care of them and serve them, we choose love.
When your husband leaves you, and you’re left all alone to take care of your children, and you don’t know where your next meal would be coming from, but you keep on praying, and you keep on knocking on every door for food and a job, you choose love.
Choose love. It’s a decision you’ll never regret.
Love is a great thing
greatest of all goods because it renders light every burden
and bears equally all that is unequal.
Because it carries a burden without feeling it,
and renders sweet and pleasing every bitterness.
Nothing is sweeter than Love,
nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more sublime
nothing more expansive, nothing more joyful, nothing more abundant
nothing more pleasing in Heaven or on earth
because love is born of God,
nor it can rest upon created things, but only in God.
Love often knows no measure,
but burns beyond all measure.
Love feels no burden, values no labours,
would like to do more than it can do,
without excusing itself with impossibility,
because it believes that it may and can do all things.
Love watches, and, sleeping, slumbers not
When fatigued it does not become tired;
when pressed it does not work through constraint;
when threatened it is not disturbed;
but like a lively flame and a burning torch,
it mounts upwards and securely overcomes all opposition.
Whoever loves knows well what this voice says
A loud cry in the ears of God is the ardent affection of my soul, which says
O my God, My Love,
you are all mine,
and I am all yours.
-The Imitation of Christ