The Meadows Blog

Unconditional Love

Michael Crawley - Sunday, November 13, 2016

Love is the most powerful force there is because it brings people together in a way that nothing else can. Without it, humanity could not survive. Fortunately, the world is blessed with many different types of love. There is the romantic attraction shared by two people. There is the affection that results from deep friendship. And there is the deep and abiding love that dwells in a family, particularly parental love for their children. All of these produce intense feelings that create a willingness to focus on someone else’s needs.

However, the most powerful form of love is when it’s unconditional.

In the world of intellectual challenges there is absolutely nothing more important than unconditional love. Whether it is a developmental disability, a traumatic brain injury, dementia, a brain tumor, a stroke or some other kind of disease or disorder, these individuals can be vulnerable and at risk. Their welfare, out of necessity, is usually entrusted to family members who do everything in their power to ensure the lives of their loved ones are fulfilling and meaningful, and that they are treated with dignity and respect.

The true potential of unconditional love is evidenced by all of the positive benefits it provides to another person. It ensures that they are cared for, valued and appreciated. It supports and nurtures them so that their lives are richer and more rewarding. It transforms attitudes and beliefs which can erase negative feelings and heal broken relationships. This form of all-encompassing devotion provides assurance that there will always be someone they can count on when they feel alone, excluded or forgotten.

Being loved unconditionally gives a person a feeling of self-worth because it allows them to freely express who they are without the fear of rejection. It gives them a sense of belonging, by allowing them to experience acceptance. There is no need for them to pretend to be something they are not. It’s okay to be real, to feel insecure and to experience fear and uncertainty. It lets a person know they can fail without being considered inferior. It embraces the individual no matter what their flaws. They are not forced to live up to arbitrary expectations, because unconditional love is not based on what someone can do, it is based on who someone is.

The intense desire to be loved unconditionally cannot be measured. It is craved for the beautiful way that it forgives and does not hold a grudge. It is treasured for its ability to comfort as it envelopes an individual with understanding instead of judgment. It is coveted because of its power to remain steadfast in good times and in bad, standing shoulder to shoulder with a person no matter what the circumstances. It is embraced tightly because it is eternal. Unconditional love never waivers, and it never gives up. It is life affirming, sharing hope and encouragement in the darkest hours, and providing warmth against the cold harshness of reality.

To be the recipient of unconditional love is to receive one of life’s greatest gifts. But, unfortunately, many are not so fortunate. There are those who desperately need that kind of attention and acknowledgement, but it is never offered. They go through life without ever experiencing the joy and peace that comes from knowing that somebody cares deeply about them and will always be there for them. When that type of relationship is not present, it creates an emptiness that is impossible to ignore. There is always something missing, and a person does not feel complete.

On the other hand, many people, at one point, had someone in their life that showered them with unconditional love, but death tragically swept them away. That kind of profound loss creates a level of grief that hurts the very core of our being because we not only miss the person’s physical presence, we also miss the way they made us feel.

Unconditional love is demonstrated in countless ways, however, the purest form is when it’s shared without the expectation of having it returned. When someone in your life has experienced a traumatic brain injury and no longer recognizes those who were important to them, the love you have for that person is unconditional. When a parent has a child with an intellectual challenge who does not interact with those around them, there is the possibility that their love may never be returned in a demonstrative way. When someone cares about a person who is in the grips of dementia and no longer remembers the people they were close to, the love they feel for them may no longer be returned. In such cases, the love is not based on the condition that it be visibly reciprocated, but rather the commitment that is shared is total, complete and without end.

On both an intellectual and emotional level, the profound life changing quality of unconditional love transcends our ability to fully understand it.


Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.


More Than A Job

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 22, 2018

Our jobs play an important role in each of our lives. In many ways, they help to define us. For some, it means having the ability to provide for their families. For others, it is a lifelong commitment to a meaningful career. But no matter what the circumstances, our jobs occupy a significant portion of our time. 
Read More

A Friend Is A Friend

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 15, 2018

Friendships are some of the most important relationships we have in life. They add a richness and warmness to our existence. They provide comfort and make us feel connected. They allow us to be understood and accepted for who we are. They provide us with people we can count on during difficult times. And, just as importantly, friendship gives us someone to share our happiest moments with. 
Read More

The Families of the Meadows

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 08, 2018

When an individual arrives for their first day of work at the Meadows, it is an accomplishment resulting from a lifetime of effort. It’s the culmination of years of commitment and dedication. It’s the achievement of a goal that at times seemed unattainable – but is now a reality. 
Read More

The Unseen

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 01, 2018

Most people would be shocked to learn that three out of every one hundred Americans have a developmental disability and that in the United States there are approximately ten million adults, teens, and children with some type of intellectual challenge. 
Read More

The Year Ahead

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A new year is a time to not only reflect on what has been - but to also anticipate what could lie ahead. 
Read More

The Future of the Meadows

Michael Crawley - Thursday, November 09, 2017

We deeply regret that lawmakers in our state have been unable to reach a budget compromise and instead have chosen to eliminate funding for organizations like the Meadows. The lack of money will have a dramatic impact on the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Many nonprofits will be forced to close. Tragically that will create significant job losses for men and women with intellectual and physical challenges. 
Read More

The Oklahoma Budget Crisis

Michael Crawley - Sunday, October 29, 2017

For thirty-five years, The Meadows Center for Opportunity has served the employment needs of men and women with intellectual and physical challenges. During that time, the state has been an important financial partner in allowing us to fulfill our mission of providing work and vocational training to adults who otherwise would not have the chance to have a job. 
Read More

Politics and Developmental Disabilities

Michael Crawley - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The regrettable state of politics in our nation is a concern for all of us. Unfortunately, many people do not take the actions, or lack of action, by elected officials seriously – until it suddenly affects them personally. But if we allow ourselves to step back and look at the bigger picture, we can see that political decisions impact all of our lives in profound ways. 
Read More

Inspiration Not Required

Michael Crawley - Friday, April 21, 2017

Because we employ individuals with developmental disabilities, the staff of the Meadows is frequently told that the work we do is “inspiring”. The people who pay us this particular compliment are just being kind. They mean well, and we appreciate that. However, the truth is, we are just average men and women who have chosen this field and who are doing our best to assist those with intellectual and physical challenges, while at the same time earning a pay check. We are nothing more or less. 
Read More

The Good

Michael Crawley - Saturday, April 08, 2017

Each day, through our constant exposure to television, newspapers and social media, we are buried under an avalanche of bad news. From the moment we start our day, until we turn off the light at night, we endure an onslaught of negative stories about people hurting and mistreating each other in heartbreaking ways. We are steadily worn down by the worst behavior that mankind engages in, to the point where it becomes easy to believe that the world is an evil place and that there is little hope that we can change it - but that is not the truth.  
Read More

View Larger Map

The Meadows
Center for Opportunity

1000 South Kelly
Edmond, Oklahoma

phone: 405.348.4470
fax: 405.340.5395