Yesterday was St. Valentine’s Day. Some enjoy it, some mock it. The day is a time to reflect on love. My son, Sean, wrote an essay on the quality of love that is the body of today’s blog. Sean is married to the beautiful Natalie, the father of Selah and Landon, and is a small business owner in West Palm Beach, Florida. Enjoy!
We don’t always say, “Yes!” to love, do we? I’d say most of the time we don’t. Ouch, right? But isn’t it the truth, if you are honest with yourself?
Because love is this:
“Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith,
is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 3:4-7)
I don’t know about you but the Sean that rolls around WPB each day lacks some patience on a regular basis. I am sometimes proud. Often, I want things my way. At about 6 pm, when things haven’t gone quite right throughout the day . . . yup, I can be pretty irritable when I walk through the door of my house. I tend to throw in the towel if it’s not convenient or concludes in a way that I agree with. I try and be hopeful but am often “realistic.” Endure through every circumstance? Let’s go with about 50% of the time. That’s being honest. That’s knowing my heart that no one else sees. Living the love that the Scripture describes is a battle!
Love is NOT easy. It’s not painted in red or pink, a path strewn with roses, a life full of the sweetness of candy hearts. Love is a warm bed and full belly AFTER you’ve journeyed a long, hard road to get there, completely exhausted. It’s the true north to a destination that may not ever be reached this side of heaven.
Love is perseverance, endurance cloaked in selflessness, and it will nearly kill you!!! But THAT is love!
Love is also failing, over and over, but having the grace with yourself to pick up where you left off and giving that grace to those with whom you are in relationship even when they fail you. Love means pain because inevitably Love hurts. Even in the best relationship you could possibly be in, love will seemingly fail and then – Love calls on you, on your determination, on your will, and your commitment bring it back things back into clear focus.
We all want the love stories in our own lives. We all want our story to be that epic movie!! But, aren’t we all living that story? Because the story on the screen is almost always one where love begins, hardship or loss come, all seems lost but then grace and forgiveness bring it back! And we sit there like, “Oh, do I want that!” But, do we really? In of claiming to want a tested, deep, enduring love, many of us give ourselves an out when the storms come. We turn and run to protect our heart. We search for someone else that makes us feel better. But, that’s not the love we see in the movies. That is not the love we want displayed for us! But it’s there, waiting, love is always waiting.
Natalie and I are coming up on twelve years of marriage. Our story is strewn with romance, adventure, risk, loss, pain, forgiveness, hope and reconciliation. It’s been beautiful but amazing hard! And – we’re not done yet. We’re not in a place where love is automatic. Each day love is a choice. It is putting one foot in front of the other but ours has been an epic love story! It’s worthy of a movie! Why? Because love continues to win!! When we turn away from what it requires, we keep remembering to come back and then experience the reward that awaits.
The temptation is to lump love in with all other emotions that lie victim to tide and circumstance. We fool ourselves into believing that love is that ‘thing’ that makes our hearts swell and bodies tingle. Sure, it does in moments, but most days, it’s evidenced in the scrapes on our shins and callouses on our hands. It’s found in the wrinkles on our face. It shines bright in service.
So, let’s start believing in a love that’s full of grit. Because love is like the sand, slowly refining us, smoothing the edges, so we can be so much more beautiful than we ever thought possible.
“This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!” (1 John 4:9-12, The Message)