We See Love Everywhere, Don’t We?
Love is inherently free. It cannot be bought, sold, or traded. You cannot make someone love you, nor can you prevent it — not for any amount of money. Love cannot be imprisoned, nor can it be legislated. Love is not a substance, not a commodity, not even a marketable power source. Love has no territory, no borders, no quantifiable mass or energy output. Deborah Anapol
Everywhere: love. Or so it would seem…
But is it? Is what we see really love? Are the two gorgeous individuals sucking face, their profile framed by thorn-less roses, thrust before our eyes really love? Is it love what you exclaim it to be, arms wrapped adoringly about a bag of Oreos, or a fuzzily-headed beer, or a photo of your latest beach vacation spot? Are the sacrifices we see adult children, wrinkles and shadow-y bags competing for space under glimmer-less eyes, making as they diaper and cook for their aging, whine-ridden parents really love? Is sexy lingerie love? Or does it look more like staying up all night with your blue-tinged spawn vomiting runny chunks all over you or speeding a lawn mower over your neighbour’s unchecked jungle of a front yard really, truly love?
Society might define it as 2 am text messages with a gazillion hearts of a gazillion colours or a blissful lover dripping from your arm or anything else that involves selfish satisfaction of your own desires (thoughtcatalogue.com). But what IS love, really? Even in attempts to corner myself with deep and philosophical thoughts I struggle to seek a definition. I head to the Bible.
If you subscribe to the biblical definition squealed at almost every wedding, then
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. 1 Cor 13:4–8
That is a very long list… and one not easy to follow specifically in a human relationship realm where dirty socks are left dangling from toilet seats and curse words are uttered under angered breath and fights ensue as to the scientifically proven and proper way to load a dishwasher and in-laws exist …and show up unannounced. Does it mean we shouldn’t aim to be patient, kind, and burn our list of all our partners faults and mistakes that’s been so well hidden below the pantyhose we wear only for funerals? Of course not. We can try. But we are human beings.
According to the Bible, GOD IS LOVE.
I can try to love like God. Or rather like Jesus. (God, after all, was fairly nasty in smoting many, destroying the world by flood, allowing Satan to seriously misuse Job, etc. Jesus was the one who washed disciples feet, ate with prostitutes, and sacrificed his very being so that we can have eternal life.)
I won’t be able to reach that bar. But it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive.
And what does loving like Jesus look like? In the screwed up world of 2020, what does loving like Him mean?
Loving like Jesus means we hold everything we own with loose hands. We are willing to part with money, time, and possessions in order to serve other people. We recognize that all we have is on loan to us from our Father in heaven and we are responsible for what we do with it (Matthew 25:14–30). We give people what they need when it is within our power to do so. When we see a brother or sister in need, and we have resources that could help, we are to share what we have with them (James 2:15; 1 John 3:16–17). Got Questions
In 2020 that means picking up a few items for our neighbour when we’re lining up at the grocery store, or making phone calls to the housebound and lonely, or continuously thanking frontline workers (and/or showing gratitude to everyone). Maybe it simply means wearing a mask without complaint. Or loaning money (that you never expect to see again). Or duct taping your mouth (in your imagination: please know I am not advocating for the use of actual duct tape) when complaints and whines are attempting to escape.
Patience. During this pandemic we’re all dealing with our own crap.
And knowing that not everyone is experiencing the same Covid reality. Not everyone is nestled in a warm, comfortable home with a job to go to and a pay cheque still arriving biweekly in their account.
Oreo cookie love or mow your neighbour’s lawn love? Which love will you choose to embrace and to share with the kooky, crazy, Covid-filled world?