LOVE. The meaning of life. Love is the reason we leave our family of origin and begin a life with someone new. Crowds line up, women scream, and billions are made on love songs. It sells. It forgives. Love brings us to our knees, makes us crazy, makes us whole. Is there anything that love can not do?!
A young teenager, he had a simple appearance, smiling, and nervous. I don’t turn on the evening news very much, but there it was on the wall of my living room, and there he was in my home. A local boy, an orphan. “I will help with the chores. I always make my bed. I listen in class. I am a really good basketball player. I always play in the Special Olympics.” The anchor asked him if he liked school, “Yes ma’am.” He smiled and did his very best to please and have good manners. There was one thing he wanted. He was willing to go on TV and plead to anyone that would give it to him. Love. Begging to be loved.
Who can tell us what love is? Why do we sell our souls to be loved? Why do our hearts ache for the unloved? Why do we connect? Why does the world search and spend and sacrifice all in the name of love?
Culture wants so badly to be loved and culture has no clue what love even is!
I hate chick flicks! Here is the setting for any modern day chick flick: Two people living separate lives. Almost always she is rude and self serving. This is supposed to be seen as successful and independent but she is concerned with no one other than herself. He is attracted to her. She is pretty. We get that. But they “fall in love” and have sex. “Happy ever after.” That is love. Or so we are told time and time again. It leaves us believing that the meaning of love is two attractive people having sex and being happy.
Love is about me. It is about a relationship that makes me happy, a person that has something to offer me, being turned on and giving into the heat of the moment. OR IS THERE SOMETHING MORE?
When James and I met, it was love at first sight. I wanted to be with him ALL THE TIME! Had I sacrificed, had I given anything? No, I was in love with the idea that someone would love me. I liked the qualities that I found in James. And I wanted to be with him. That is why I married James! I WANTED TO BE WITH HIM! I wanted to figure out this thing called life with James. I wanted to spend Christmases with James, wanted to wake up beside him, wanted to cry on his shoulder, to go on dates, and count up the anniversaries by his side. THAT WAS THE EASY PART! That worked for me!
What did not work for me? Spending money on what he wanted instead of what I had my heart set on. Spending hour after hour, time after time going through the forever decision making process that he always goes through every single time he makes a purchase. It didn’t work for me to get mad as hell at someone and have to lay down beside him at the end of the day. It did not work for me to discover that men and women are from two different planets and I did not understand what in the hell he was thinking most of the time. It did/does not work for me to discover that he is a messy person, while I am a perfectionist concerning our home. It did not work for me to have to work through something when it hurt deep in my heart and all I wanted to do was throw in the towel.
Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t work for James either! It didn’t work for him to spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars on medical bills. It didn’t work for him to wait months to see if his daughter inherited cancer from his wife. It didn’t work for him to work day after stressful day to use the money to buy canvases to hang on the wall and throw a birthday party for a bunch of little girls. It didn’t work for him for his wife to have to work through the emotions when he had already moved on from a disagreement. It didn’t work for him to spend Saturdays making repairs on a home when he would rather be at the shooting range. It did not work for him to paint the living room, just for a color change. And it most definitely did not work for him to sign someone else on to his checking account.
And THAT IS LOVE! It is awesome to hold hands with your husband of 12 years, while he whispers sweet secrets in your ear. It is great to get what I’ve been hoping for for my birthday. But I have felt the most loved when I have been a real bitch and James makes me coffee in the morning. I know I am loved when I am forgiven. I know love when it is not deserved and James choses to stay with me when he has better options.
Love is when it doesn’t work for me. Love is when it does not make me happy. Love is doing something for the one you love when you don’t want to, but it is the best for them. Love is time after time, choosing someone else above me. Love is when my heart does not feel it, making my actions do what is right when I do not want to.
God is love. What does that mean? Jesus had perfection. He was spending eternity in a place that is above and beyond anything we can ever begin to imagine. King of paradise island surrounded by servants and being a famous billionaire? Better than that! He was perfect. Never said anything mean, never did anything selfish. He had never messed up. And he chose to come to this screwed up, sinful world. He chose to let his accusers whip him and torture him and spit in his face. He chose to let them nail him on a cross, when just thinking a single thought, he could have released himself from all the agony and pain. He chose to die, to SAVE US!
THAT IS LOVE! He received no benefit, none of that worked for him! But it was the best for us.
And what did I do in return to thank Jesus? I complained. I wanted a bigger house and a newer car and a healthier body. I wanted more!
Why does he love me?! I do not know! And yet time after time, he forgives me and he loves me again and again!
THAT IS LOVE!
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