Day 3 and a half. Still fairly incapacitated. Apparently when you have the doctor perform a little magic that could be called permanent birth control for men, it keeps you fairly immobile for a few days. Nothing really hurts that bad but I am nonetheless very slow moving and stiff. The longer I am in any given position, the harder it is to switch to a new position. When all is said and done, it isn’t that bad, but I can say there are many other parts of my body that I would rather feel these discomforts.

As far as permanent birth control, it isn’t really true for us. We haven’t decided that we are done adding children to our family which currently has three. We have decided that we have already brought enough new children into the world and at this point would consider adding children who already exist and could use a loving home. I like to think a loving home is what we provide, yet am constantly reminded that my ability to love is so limited. This isn’t necessarily bad though. My limited ability to love helps me envision countless new levels I could grow too. I find that very exciting.

It is weird how good it feels to love. It is a satisfaction that I don’t find in anything else. You cannot match the feeling by any other accomplishments. Loving other people can easily make you question whether anything else really matters on earth. You cannot find that satisfaction in money, power, entertainment, activities, adventures, possessions or abilities. Nothing describes the feeling that comes from making an impact in the life of another.

Even more weird than how love makes us feel is how easy it is to love infrequently. Maybe it’s because we are scared of what the receiving end will do with it. The thing about love is that we can’t guarantee how it’s received. For us, it is a very fragile gift to give and it is painful when it is received an destroyed, received ungraciously or not received at all. The more often we experience that, the more likely we are to look for other things to satisfy us. To give love is to give a very personal gift and we may wonder why bother if we can’t guarantee it will be effective.

I recently learned how to play craps. I am not going to condone this practice as all I really learned was how to give money to an establishment that already has plenty. There is a certain thrill in it though and I enjoy it while I’m winning. While I was at the table, I would usually put down the minimum bet. This was five dollars where I played. There were people at the table who would put down fifty dollars compared to my five. They have the same odds of winning but more at stake. In the end, I would win five dollars to my five dollar bet if a seven or eleven was rolled. As happy as I was that I won, it would be easy to think that I should have put down fifty dollars like the other guy who has also doubled his money. Even further though, the guy who puts fifty down saying that the next roll will be two ones or two sixes will gain about thirty times his bet if he were to win.

What have you bet on love? Have you bet a lot and lost it? Have you bet with the odds against you and lost? Have you bet comfortably and received a little payback? Have you simply accepted low payback for low risk?

I would guess that most adults have gambled a bit on love and have lost enough that they have learned to maximize their odds instead of maximizing their payback. This is portrayed in their ability or desire to give to those in need. With many losses on the record, they choose to box their lives in and stick to things that they know will at least give some payback. If they have a nice house and nice TV they know they will be comfortable and enjoy the football game with great picture. The more they climb the work ladder the more they will be needed and the better they feel. The more money in the bank, the less they will need to rely on others and that will bring a certain level of comfort.

When I say they or talk about others though, I am also talking about myself. I do my best to minimize risk and maximize payout. This usually means I limit the return on my bet to make sure I don’t lose too much. I want to ask myself this question, though, and see if you may want to ask yourself the same thing.

What would it be like if I loved without thinking about the return?

Isn’t that what love is anyway? Isn’t it about the other person? Authentic love should be selfless. When I am trying to get something back for the love that I give, then it is not selfless and it will probably not be very fulfilling. I will never be able to minimize the risk to make love worth giving. But once I give up looking for a return on my investment I can give knowing that selfless love will be quite fulfilling. I can abandon all my other pursuits and pursue something that can really fulfill me without even needing to receive anything back.

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