Photo Courtesy: British Library photostream
Ok guys, give me a chance…. i hope this one will actually be more substantial than ways to know if you’re “in the right relationship” or “how to find your soulmate” or whatever other interesting read is out there. I just have several things on my mind as this blessed holiday of love approaches us once again. And thanks to my dear friend, Lauren, for sparking some thoughts through some great conversation 🙂
1. Love has been sadly misconstrued in the American culture. Love in the Bible does not look like what I see around me. Materialism doesn’t seem to really be a part of biblical love. Selfishness is not a part of it. Pride is not a part of it. And part of me doubts that we really want to actually “love” someone anymore, because frankly that’s just too hard. It isn’t about candy hearts and sweet words when it all boils down to the bottom. Love, true love, is wanting what is best for someone else even if that means I suffer. It means giving of resources without always thinking how this is going to hurt or help me. Let’s be honest people, 50/50 is not even a legitimate goal in any friendship or relationship. So let’s just drop that expectation at the door. Love is active service. Love is sitting in a hospital room when there are other things you’d rather be doing. Love is going the extra mile. Love is giving even when it hurts. Love is sharing. Love is listening. Love is pulling yourself along on the days when you feel you literally have nothing left to give. Love is trying to think no evil even when there is anger deep inside that would much rather lash out. Love requires a lifetime of work and will still leave us with more we can do.
2. “Your actions speak so loudly, that I cannot hear your words.” This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson has resonated with me every time i’ve read it in my life. Sometimes when we look at ourselves and others, we tend to see discrepancies in action and deed. It’s like we say things, but there isn’t anything to prove it. Jesus tells us in John, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” This tells me that love isn’t gushy sweet things or love poems or happiness all the time. It’s action. It requires dedication. It will require is to grow and hurt and laugh and cry, but it will make us better. And this quote shows me that what we do can be infinitely more important than what we say or what we say we’re going to do.
3. Love is a choice and a difficult one more often than not. It’s not easy to walk through the fire knowing you could be burned. It’s not easy to give to people who are thankless. It isn’t easy to hope that someone will strive for greatness and do a 180 degree turn. But we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. Knowing the sacrifices and the blessing that God has given us will help soften our hearts toward those who have wronged us and toward those we don’t “feel” like loving at times. To spend and be spent is the idea of real love. Support, encouragement and a willing heart will go farther in working toward a goal than a continuous negativity that sees the worst in every situation. We cannot keep repeating the past and hope that the future will be brighter. We must change. We must be willing to stretch our hearts and our arms toward those who at times make loving really difficult. I think i understand that at times. Christ came to die for those of us who sometimes turn away from Him. How hard it would have been to still have compassion on a people who really didn’t want you to even live. He didn’t shake people and scream at them. He just quietly strove to love them and give Himself for them.
I hope these thoughts can encourage and give you some positive meditation tomorrow on a holiday that has warped our concept of love. Happy valentine’s day kiddos 🙂
Lovely! Very well-written! I have often said that people these days are getting into relationships (especially marriage) for the wrong reasons. Love — and the subsequent committed relationship — can be WORK. Delightful work sometimes, terribly difficult work sometimes, but always rewarding work, and work all the same. I think too many people today think that it must always be hearts and roses, a great romance novel, and then when they find out that it isn’t always a fairytale, they panic. It’s quite sad, really. 😦
So true Heather! Thank you so much for your thoughts. The most rewarding things in life require hard work 🙂
I may have responded to this already, but I appreciate your view of marriage. As with any relationship, we have to remember that we can’t have all the highs without the lows. I feel our culture is a “happiness and pleasure all the time” sort of culture which is really detrimental when it comes to working at a relationship.
So very true. As philospher Lao Tzu said, we cannot have the light without the dark, for one by its very nature creates the other.
The big issue I see is that we aren’t taught how to cope well when things go bad. We aren’t taught how to handle grief, or anger, or many of the other sticky situations we can find ourselves in, and it is definitely to our detriment.