Yesterday, my oldest son, Chris, came across this heart in a piece of lumber while he was working. As I came out of my room after taking a nap, he said, “Mom, I have a present for you,” and he proceeded to pull it from his pocket. Wasn’t it sweet of him to think of me and take the time to cut the piece of wood down to size? I heart you, too, Chris.
I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that there are different forms of love for the one English word, but the Greek language has four words: storge, a natural family affection; phileo, a brotherly love; eros, an erotic love; and agape, the highest form of love because it is given unconditionally and is the most difficult one to give.
One of the ‘Beatitudes for Homemakers’ says, “Blessed is she whom children love, for the love of a child is of greater value than fortune or fame”. I feel so blessed to be loved by my children… and now by my granddaughter. When she holds out her arms to me, it just melts my heart.
Have you ever found strength and courage in love? Laozi, a Chinese philosopher said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” In times of distress when you feel like you cannot go on, have you ever looked into the face of a child and found the strength, courage, and determination to persevere? I’ve heard so many people express strength to accomplish something difficult for the love of family… a wife, a husband, or children… or even for the love of country.
Have you ever been afraid to love? Ann Radcliffe, an American author, wrote, “Such is the inconsistency of real love, that it is always awake to suspicion, however unreasonable; always requiring new assurances from the object of its affection”. Really? The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” The context speaks of God’s love for us expressed by the sending of His Son as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins in order to be reconciled to Him. God’s love is perfect, and we should have no fear in loving Him and receiving His love.
In the monologue The Woman at the Well, Chris Kinsley and Drew Francis expressed, “To be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known”. Isn’t there a phrase that says we fear what we don’t know? Although we also fear what we do know by experience, sometimes we fear what we think we know and have imagined, instead of seeking to know what is true. We judge unrighteously and without knowledge and may miss out on love and happiness as a result.
I recently watched a short, humorous video by The Skit Guys called Romantically Challenged. In it, one of the questions asked was, “How many of you have ever done anything for your wife without desiring anything in return?” Is that a guy thing? Not that women don’t ever do things without expecting something in return, but the video seemed to portray it as a common thing among men. Did you know the Bible commands husbands to love their wives? I know part of the reason is because feeling loved is one of the most basic needs women have, just as being honored and respected is one of the most basic needs and expression of love that men have, but I find it interesting that the Bible often instructs us in the area of our weaknesses. Hmm… Leo F. Buscaglia said, “Love is always bestowed as a gift —freely, willing, and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.”
While there is no formula for love, and if you’re looking for a formula, your focus is misplaced, nevertheless, it’s always nice to get some ideas of how we can express our affection to someone we love. First and foremost get to know them, what they like and don’t like, and what’s important to them. David Augsburger, an American Anabaptist author said, “Being heard is so close to being loved that, for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” My son knows that I love photography and finding shapes, especially hearts, in everything from clouds to reflections of light and from wood to cracked asphalt. He knows me. He has taken the time to listen. And when he saw the heart-shaped knot in a rough piece of lumber, he knew that although it may mean very little to someone else, it would be very meaningful to me. Some people like gifts, while others like acts of service such as helping with housework, and still others need a physical touch. Amy Carmichael, a Christian missionary said, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”
And one more thing. Love is like a Ninja, popping up when you least expect it and turning your world upside-down. (^_~)