Wednesday, February 13, 2013

All You Need Is...

It seems fitting to write on L-O-V-E this week. For a couple of reasons.

First, the obvious consideration for writing about LOVE is because we are right in the middle of February, and so is something else:  VALENTINE'S DAY!  Hearts are everywhere in all of their beautiful pink and red and white glory.  I would ask anyone reading this to cast off the glittery trappings of an over-commercialized date in the middle of this month, and instead, just LOVE.  Walk around for the next few days treating the people in your world as if you love them.

This brings me to the second reason I am writing about LOVE this week.  Our pastor bestowed on us a challenge last Sunday morning:  choose one person in your sphere of influence (circle of friends and acquaintances), and for the next year, simply LOVE that person.  To be devoted to loving a person means to be devoted to selflessness and purity in that relationship, no matter what.  As we consider the people who have traipsed into our lives, who have been born into, or married into, or were thrust into our lives, we are challenged to do this thing that is actually pretty foreign to our thinking.  (What a terrible thing to say! I am outraged at myself for suggesting that LOVE is foreign to my thinking.)

I love my husband and my children (and perfect grandboys!).  I love my mother and my siblings and their families.  I love my friends and I love people, in general.  I wonder--do I love any of them selflessly, or in purity?  I mean to.  But in thinking about what it means to truly, truly love a person, I wonder if I don't attach a few strings (even teeny, tiny, wee strings) to the people I believe I love.  For me, to love someone is to allow him (or her) to be, to be exactly who God designed him to be; to not manipulate or influence him in any way that would benefit me; to discipline with my eye and my heart trained on godly wisdom; to give selflessly, to hold tirelessly, to listen endlessly, to defend boldly, to pray for radically, to honor constantly.

What a tall order!  Does anyone really love like that?  I believe my pastor's challenge, which seemed sweet and fluffy to me at first, is perhaps the hardest thing I have ever considered doing.  But in the immortal words of one of our dearest superheroes, Yoda:  "Do or do not.  There is no try."  So, in closing, and with much, much more to say but not nearly enough time and space to say it:   Today, I will LOVE.  (There is no try.)        

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