Exploring the limits of love

By Published On: December 18th, 2014

Let’s pretend that love is something that we manufacture somewhere […]

photoLet’s pretend that love is something that we manufacture somewhere in our body, as if a gland secretes it. I thought of love that way for a long time. In this view, love is a finite resource. We only have so much to go around. Therefore, we must be very careful about how we allocate it to the people in our lives.
During our first pregnancy, I remember worrying that I wouldn’t have enough love for the coming baby. I already loved my wife so much I couldn’t fathom where the love would come from for another family member. I felt like my love gland was already working at maximum capacity. Adding another precious human being to my family might overload my love gland. I was nervous.
Then the baby arrived, and I found that something miraculous happened. Somehow, my love gland found a way to produce more love. I didn’t know this was possible until I tested the limits. I found myself instantly in love with my new little daughter in a way that I had never experienced before, and with no dilution of my love for my wife.
Several months later, we found ourselves surprised by the news that we were pregnant again. Though I had already experienced one increase in production from my love gland, I did not know if it could happen again. Maybe you only get one increase in your life and then you’re on your own after that. I was worried again. How could I love two children as much as I love the one I already have? I was about to find out.
I’m happy to report that my love gland rose to the occasion. In another miraculous event, I found that I could love two children with the passion of a thousand burning suns. But surely this was the upper limit of what the love gland can do. So, we took a break on babies, or so we thought.
Three years later, we discovered we were pregnant with twins. This will surely break my love gland, I thought. Surely, twins will require a special dosage of love, and that on top of all the love I already have. I started asking around about the possibility of getting love transfusions. But alas, it turned out not to be necessary. Yet another miracle occurred, and I was able to love all four children and their mother with more love than I had ever known before. Seriously, though, the love gland can’t handle any more.
Two years later, we are now holding our precious fifth child. Even as I hug him and tickle him, I know without a doubt that I have all the love I need to love everyone in our family well.
Maybe love isn’t a finite resource, as I had originally thought. Maybe it isn’t produced in limited quantities. Maybe its an infinite resource. Maybe it’s more like a muscle that increases in size and strength with more use. Maybe there is no upper limit to how large the muscle can grow and how much love-force it can exert.
Perhaps it’s the wrong question to ask if I’ll be able to love this child. Maybe a better question to ask would be: How can I exercise my love muscles enough to love this child?