Monday, May 07, 2007

the neverending story

I'm wondering today, what does love require? I hear and read the word so often I'm not sure I know exactly, or maybe I think I do and then a relationship comes along that makes me question myself. I want to love. I need be loved. Everyone needs it. The scripture say God is love. Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Love is the Answer, All You Need is Love, Where is Love?, I Will Always Love You....what is it, how do we get it, how to we give it? I don't know sometimes.

I think about everything that has transpired in the last week and about the people I spent my time with. Many of the relationships I'm involved in now are relatively new, but I have older ones, too. I spent time with someone who has become a dear friend and 12 step sponsor. She probably knows more about me than most folks, and is willing to give her precious time to me just to listen. I write to a childhood friend I've known for years. Our relationship has changed over the course, but we seemed to have returned to the bliss of childhood as our children are now grown and we've become hopefully a little less uptight. I spent time with my youngest daughter making a duct tape prom dress and being her body guard while she took photos in a junkyard for her art class project. I met with a business client and talked about her inlaws, of whom I painted a portrait. I returned to a beloved instructor to visit and talk, and realized how much I've changed since he taught me to paint. On the same day I shook hands with an extremely gifted, up and coming artist from whom I bought a gorgeous painting. I hope to get to know him better and encourage the gift. I received a treasured letter and heart-melting card from someone who has become a most dear companion in just 8 months. I spent time with CR friends and was packed in a van with six of those great brothers going to a seminar in Philly on Saturday. (Of course I wanted wring necks after I stumbled out 13 hours later!). I grabbed moments with my husband while navigating all these comings and goings, as only a long-married couple can.

What are some of the earmarks of this four letter word, which is that to us as often as it is bliss. It isn't an emotion. It generates emotion, but real love is a choice. It's a choice to value people. It is given and received between two. We are to love ourselves, but that command is given in the context of loving our neighbor as...the highest form of love is unconditional. It requires nothing in return and does not diminish the giver to pour it out. I have to say, this kind of love requires God. I cannot love without His love poured into me first. That isn't a nice sentiment. It's the bold-faced truth, because I choose as often not to love. Scripture also says, we love because He first loved us. Yes. Love bears in mind the highest purpose for the beloved and acts accordingly. It can mean we face deep hurts, terrible separations, loss, heartbreak, unfulfilled desires. But I've reached the conclusion that I'd rather face all of that than to walk away untouched by such a beauty. One Man did that and wound up ripped to shreds on a cross. But that is never the end of the story.


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