Wow. What a piece of writing. I’m awed.
As to whether we love unconditionally, ever, I liked the way she answered it experientially. I think it isn’t as tough a question as we often think, though. It helps to make a distinction between intention and action.
Intentionally, unconditional love isn’t all that hard. Intending unconditional love, bliss, good fortune, etc., for another human being is no real stretch, especially for those we’re close to and care about. I think the problem is that we’ve been taught to devaluate and discredit the importance of intention. The road to hell might be paved with good intentions, but it’s not paved because people had good intentions — rather because something stopped them. Something made them lose faith that they could follow through on their intentions. So the road to hell is actually paved with good intentions that something killed.
What killed them?
We might think that selfishness killed them. I don’t think so. Something happens before selfishness becomes an issue.
I think that the false dichotomy which pits our interests against the interests of those we love kills our good intentions. Before we choose our interests over their interests, we choose to accept that our interests are at odds with their and, now, we are at odds with them, too. Who told us that? Myopia and fear of losing out, not love.
Framing the question of knowledge of good and evil as an either-or is essentially what the serpent did in the Garden of Eden: either stick with God and remain ignorant, or oppose God and become enlightened. God’s first reaction was telling: “Who told you… ?”
The choice to eat the fruit wasn’t the “sin,” because that choice followed their departure from God. Their choice to accept the situation as an either-or was to turn their backs on God, because they could have taken the serpent’s words to God and talked them over. Instead, they shut God out and acted alone.
Similarly, we must first shut people out before we choose to hurt or violate them. There is no question of shutting anyone out when everyone can get what they want. So, in effect, failing to love unconditionally is the result of blindness. There are always win-win solutions to problems. History shows this over and over — they were possible, as others proved later, but we gave up before we found them. It’s hard even to start looking when you believe that win-win solutions are impossible.
That’s one reason I think we’re told that love never fails. It never gives up looking.