Today I want to talk about my favorite subject in the whole world. No, not wine. Or coffee. Today I want to talk about love.
First of all, why isn’t love capitalized? Shouldn’t it be? The whole reason for our existence, in this beautiful but tiny four-letter word, and it doesn’t even get a capital L? What kind of sense does that make and who do I have to petition?
I don’t even know why I want to talk about love but it’s on my mind. All kinds of love. In love-love (my favorite of course…well, next to Jesus’ love), parental love, neighborly love, you’re-a-part-of-my-human-race-post-9/11-love, pet love, God’s love, Jesus’ love (they may be the same person but I experience their love very differently…that whole 3-in-1 thing is a bit hard to grasp anyway), nursing love, sibling love, friendship love and of course, the hardest of all, self-love.
It’s crazy how many kinds of love there are and how we feel each of them so differently. Yet all of them are magnificent in their own right.
I know some folks who are very bitter and their lives are virtually loveless. I can’t imagine the agony of self-punishing in that way. Because, after all, it’s a choice right? Contrary to our popular belief system, songs, and movies, Love is not a feeling. Un-capital love may be. But Love is not. Love is a verb, an action word. Guess what? That makes it a choice. I can choose to run, jump and exercise. Today I’m choosing not to. I can choose to drive a car, get in the shower, pay a bill, cook dinner. Drive, get, pay, cook. All verbs. Love is a verb. Love in action is Jesus’ favorite verb I bet.
So why is it so hard sometimes and so easy at other times? Why am I so happy and such a better person, capable of so much more because I Love and am Loved by Staci? And if that’s so, why do I still get grumpy and short and have bad days and definitely don’t get the Love thing right? This Love absolutely frees me. And I can’t explain it. I’ve thought and thought about it. I had a hard time reconciling it with my relationship with Jesus and thought about it some more. I got there but not without difficulty (book forthcoming). But I have never felt so capable in my life. And I know Love is why.
And self Love. So elusive, right? We are Loved by the Almighty but can’t figure out a way to Love ourselves? What’s that about? Like we think we know more about us than our own Creator? I don’t know if this is the case for men, but as women, why do we always feel less than, not enough? We DEFINE ourselves by it. That is not Love, that is destruction of the soul. The soul that is supposed to Love. How do we give what we do not have? I spent years of my life as a shell of myself and that is such a tragedy. When I think of all I could have accomplished during those years, it’s hard not to grieve. Grieve for the years, what could have been in them, my poor wisp of self. Why do we decide this is ok? All of the prayer and pleading went unanswered. Or did it? Maybe it just wasn’t the answer I was looking for so I couldn’t see it. I was filling myself with so much self-loathing, there was no room for God to fill with His Love.
So if Love is a verb, so is loathing. I choose to do it. I can choose to stop. Stopping is much harder. It took about 2 years for it all to disappear. Two years of reading and praying and praying and praying. Not for anything specific. Just generally searching. Guess who I found? ME! And guess what? I’m not half bad! If I am loved by some of the most generous people on the planet, I think that maybe that says something. And I’m getting better at that whole Love of self thing. We all deserve that. Destruction does nothing but lay waste and dishonors the One who made us. If you are in a place right now where you just can’t get there, start by Loving the divinity in you. We all have it in us. You may not feel like it’s in there but trust me, it is. So start by Loving and honoring that. Then try and grow that. How? By Loving others. What does that look like? It’s different for everyone. Volunteer at an animal or human shelter, buy someone a cup of coffee, whatever. Love in action. See what happens. The divinity spark turns into a divinity flame. Feed it some more. What happens? A divinity FIRE! Now we’re cooking! Who doesn’t Love a divinity FIRE? And where is that fire? Why, inside of you! So guess what? Loving others has turned into self-Love before your very eyes! See? It’s not that hard. Don’t take two years to figure it out like I did.
Love is awesome. I’ve always known that. It’s always been my favorite. But I have misunderstood it most of my life. Thought I saw it hiding in places it wasn’t, simply because I wanted so much for it to be so. Love doesn’t have to be chased or convinced or pleaded with. That would make it a thing, a noun. Love is a verb. You either are receiving it in specific action, or you are not. You are either giving it in specific action, or you are not. Love doesn’t hide. Love shouts.
If Love is THE most important thing on the planet (and it is), then why aren’t we better at it? Let’s get better at it!
That’s my rant for today….go love someone or something! I’m off to flip some slow roasting ribs for Staci’s mom who’s visiting for the weekend. See? Love in action! 😉
Happy reading, joyful cooking and SPREAD THE LOVE!