getting it backward

       Sometimes we get things backward.  Big things.  One of those big things is contentment.  We think we'll be content when we finally get enough love (as in respect and admiration and affirmation) at home or on the job or wherever.  But we have it backward.  Trying to get love just makes us self-focused and needy and anxious, and that's not exactly the path to contentment.  We'll only start breathing the fresh air of contentment when we're willing to risk trading the self-focus of "do you love me?" for the other-focus "I love you." 

       What if we started each day with one simple request -- "Father, give me someone to love today"?

"You cannot command for yourself the love you would gladly receive; it is not in our power to do that; but that noble love which is not asking but giving -- that you can always have.  Wherever your life touches another life, there you have opportunity. . . .  To give a close, sympathetic attention to every human being we touch; to try to get some sense of how he feels, what he is, what he needs; to make in some degree his interest our own -- that disposition and habit would deliver any one of us from isolation or emptiness." George S. Merriam, b. 1843.