The Incredible Power of Love
By Brigit Atkin
Years ago, I had the privilege of working with at-risk students in a local middle school. It was one of the most challenging yet fulfilling jobs I’ve ever experienced. There was one boy in particular who will forever stand out in my mind as a student who cried out for the love he craved—love that was missing in his young and troubled life. This boy was literally thrown into my classroom one day. He was in trouble for drawing gang symbols on his paper during class. He was hostile and put in a corner by an officer where he was isolated from everyone else. Even though I couldn’t see him, I could feel his loneliness as well as his desperate need to be loved. It was an overpowering feeling, and I wrestled within myself about how to best help him.
I noticed that this boy’s lunch account had no money in it. I also deduced that his parents were newly divorced and seemingly preoccupied with new romances. This teen had been forgotten at one of the most vulnerable times of his young life, and his behavior showed how much he needed to belong and to be loved. That day, I reached out in the only way I knew how; I went outside to some vendors and bought him lunch. At first, he wouldn’t accept it, but after some time, he ate the lunch that was offered. I could feel his protective emotional walls come down a bit and silently prayed for further opportunities and success. On my end, it felt good to make a difference in another person’s life. I could feel my own heart grow and my ability to love increase.
We are designed to love and to be loved. Without it, we will literally die from the inside out. Many times we withhold love from others without consciously being aware of it, and this is usually because we are hurting emotionally ourselves and not receiving the love we need. We cannot give from an empty well, so we first start with loving ourselves. One way to start loving yourself is to go back in the timeline of your life and forgive old hurts. You might do this through therapy, energy work, prayer, or meditation. Forgive yourself for the dumb things you’ve done, and forgive others for the hurt they have caused you. It’s so important to remember that other people hurt us because they themselves are hurting. This might help in the forgiveness process.
Because love is always an act of giving and receiving, make sure you are reaching out to others. I promise that everyone around you is in need of something you have to give, whether it’s a kind word, a sincere compliment, or any other act of service and love. Just assume they need it! Love, especially patient love, can thaw the coldest of hearts, can break down the thickest of walls. Love heals the core of our being, our very soul. This is where we feel, think, and make decisions. When this part of us is injured, it doesn’t function properly. Love heals the mind and heart and helps them work together. Love heals the perception of ourselves as well as the way we see others. The power of love can even heal the body! In certain circumstances, hospitals often hire people to hold and rock newborns in their nurseries. There are many documented cases of newborns who were born prematurely, who were struggling with physical ailments, or who were failing to thrive but were brought from near death to a thriving state because of consistent, loving touch. Never underestimate its power!
The story I mentioned at the beginning doesn’t have a happy ending. The boy was removed from the school before I had any more interaction with him, and it haunts me still. I see him on the arrest list from time to time, and my heart breaks each time I see it. That boy had potential, and at a time when he needed love most, it wasn’t aptly given to him. He is a valuable soul, and I hope and pray that he is given the opportunity to know that one day. Maybe there is someone out there who will cross his path and will have the opportunity to extend love to him in a way that will break down his walls and heal his heart, allowing him to see his true worth. I know this can happen, and I know that if it does, it will change his life.
Seek opportunities to love others. Start with yourself and your family members. The one who is acting out the most is very likely the one who needs the most love. Be patient and diligent, then watch for all the ways they become who they are truly capable of becoming. Love is that powerful!