As February has drawn to an end and we say good-by to our shortest month of the year – the only month that sets aside it’s middle day to celebrate love – here are a few thoughts on love that I find myself contemplating.
After a week of congressional hearings, historic diplomatic talks and loads of regular life walked alongside people (some we love (desperately), some we avoid) love deserves a second take before our Spring calendars hit hyper drive. As sails are hit with wind gusts in the form of places to be and things to do, let’s not lose sight of what’s important. The people. Maybe love (for others and receiving it ourselves) is the centerboard – the keel – that keeps our ships sailing straight.
The keel is basically a flat blade sticking down into the water from a sailboat’s bottom. It has two functions: it prevents the boat from being blown sideways by the wind, and it holds the ballast that keeps the boat right-side up
Love is more than a feeling – that’s for sure. It’s an action.
Mother Teresa described it as a”fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”
Love sees. Love listens. Love hears – a step beyond listening, making it less about us and more about others.
Hearing can be hard these days as we’re literally surrounded by curated soundbites climbing over each other to be at the top, shouted the loudest. Hearing can be hard if listening is more about our getting a word in or making a point or winning an argument. But real listening gives dignity to the person speaking – even if we disagree, even if we’re afraid. Holding back an instant-response in order to hear can feel powerless in today’s speak-up landscape, but is actually more powerful than we think. Listening offers dignity and worth to the person being heard. A nice reminder to love others amidst all the noise.
Why not take a moment today to listen to the kid riding shotgun. To simply listen and hear before responding or trying to fix or offering an opinion. Listen to the littlest people traveling alongside. Their talk (though seemingly incessant) and reasoning is often beautifully laced with wonder – something we could all probably use a healthy dose of these days.
Robert Fulghum says that love “is a fabric which never fades, no matter how often it is washed in the water of adversity and grief.”
That never-fading love finds mention in the Bible throughout. One well known and oft-quoted by people throughout the generations, describes describes it. Though the words can feel quite weighty when taken on as expectation-laden tasks, they actually offer life. Because woven throughout these words are threads of Hope as the love described is for us. Dare we believe? Dare we receive that we are the intended recipients of such promises.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Love never fails.
Maybe love sharpens to clarity when it’s revealed by the Apostle John as the One called love.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.”1 John 4:16
Which is where hope barrels in as love is personified. And we learn even more about the One who gave his all for those he loves as we put His name in place of “love” in the love chapter. It certainly takes on new meaning, makes it hard to believe that such a thing exists and is meant for us – that someone is all those things (God is patient, kind, does not envy, …always protects, … never fails), not that – left to myself – I have to be/do them.
But maybe it’s in believing/receiving such love that we have capacity to freely give it.
To see, to, to care, to listen, to hear, to help, to put others interest ahead of or own simply because – with our tanks filled by Truth – we can.
I don’t know – just a few random thoughts on love before the clock strikes Midnight, February takes a bow and waits another year to spotlight love.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
… and since practical tends to help, here’s a practical, fun, funny, honest chat with author Scott Kedersha who was kind to share wisdom he has experienced in life as well as that gathered from over a decade ministering to marriages. Truth be told – his insight applies to all relationships – from family to friendship.
Enjoy! (and feel like, follow or share on FB or Youtube :)