There are, I think, two kinds of love: a because love and a despite love.
A because love cares because of what we do, what we say, the way we look. It is a love that says we matter because we stack up, we measure up. The simplest way to identify this love is to notice what happens when we dont measure up. Notice the effort we put into not being discovered, how hard we try to manage impressions, and how many excuses we come up with to justify our mistakes. A because love is a love of high anxiety and vigilance. It fuels a fruitless crusade to finally become “enough” that consumes so much of our lives.
A despite love says there is nothing to prove. It doesnt try to banish warts from the world. It is love that says you are a prize even when you dont act like one. It is the love we wish all of our love was. It is the love hardest to get and hardest to give. It is God’s greatest gift and the lack of it the source of our greatest disappointment in each other and ourselves.