Monday, February 14, 2011

Simply Love

God, the Eternal God, is Love. Covet therefore that everlasting gift, that one thing which it is certain is going to stand, that one coinage which will be current in the Universe when all other coinages of all the nations of the world shall be useless and unhonoured. You will give yourselves to many things, give yourselves first to Love.-Henry Drummond

I came upon this quote a while ago and remember being intrigued by it so I kept it- on a index card, of course. Valentines rolled around and there it was, like a billboard in my brain. As I feebly attempted to give myself “first to love”, I wound up watching it far more than I was able to give it. With the “Day of Love” approaching, I had ample opportunities to see the currency in different forms leaving me with an increased desire to “covet therefore that everlasting gift”.

All week, I received multiple sheets of paper from Brighton with hand drawn hearts that looked more like fat peanuts in their shells. With every piece, I got an “I love you, Mom. See the heart?”.  Love was tickling my ear.

Wanting so badly to write on his little cards, Brighton asked each day if it was Valentines. Julia was equally as eager for Friday when we would have a party with all of our school friends. Out of love for their friends, they both worked long and hard at the kitchen table on their miniature cards and envelopes. The night before, each greeting was licked tight and ready to go for the big day. Love was in crooked letters and corny cards.

My idea of a fun Friday afternoon with friends was NOT watching/hearing Jeff express love in the form of discipline to Brighton as he “showed out” for everyone at the party……….. a couple of times.  This is by far the least enjoyable form of love to express, but necessary and fruit-bearing. Love was a spanking.

A day or so later I got a sweet message from a friend who had to witness the whole episode encouraging me that we had handled it well. Her phone call communicated love for our family. Love was affirming me.

On Valentine’s morning, Jeff was the first one up. With my head still on the pillow, he came in the bedroom and asked, “Where is the red food coloring? I want to make pink pancakes for the kids.” Love was out of its comfort zone.

He did it again when he cooked dinner for me and served it fireside in the back yard. Love was dancing on my taste buds.

When we arrived at home after the party, there were three familiar white boxes sitting on the bench by my front door. We all knew what they were. Pa Paw has cupcakes, heart shaped cookies, petit fours, and more cookies delivered every Valentines Day. “Universal coinage” was sent from Georgia via the Bluebonnet Bakery. Love was in the form of sugar.

Some new friends invited us to eat dinner with them and they wanted to hear our adoption stories. Well, I can hardly think of anything else I would rather talk about- the waiting, the process, the precious families, the goodness of God, the birth experiences, the babies in our arms. Love was experienced through memories.

“You will give yourselves to many things, give yourselves first to Love.” This seems simple enough, but with my task driven personality, “simple” becomes intentional which at times can come across as rehearsed or forced, therefore “useless and unhonoured”. Expressing the “universal coinage” is sometimes the last thing on my mind. The majority of my day is given to housekeeping tasks, returning emails, and keeping children busy at half way constructive play. Are the demands of daylight all laced with love? Not quite. If the resurrection of the quote by Drummond wasn’t enough to taunt me, I read a story about a pastor’s battle with cancer in a book I finished last week. He continued to ask the Lord this question, “How do I live these days of low energy in which I am more aware of having to let go of things than doing them?” One day an answer came: “With love. With great love.”

He went on to say, “I began to practice the simple things with love. I loaded and unloaded the dishwasher with thoughts of love. It was very different from thoughts such as, “If I didn’t have to do the dishes, I could do more important things,” or, “It seems I am doing more than my share of this mundane stuff.” I practiced waiting in love while the computer started up instead of fidgeting and scolding the machine’s sloth. On days when I could drive, yellow lights at the intersections became reminders to brake, to stop and refocus my life in love, not accelerate and hurry…..”

How different my life and my family’s life would be if I gave myself “first to Love” and “practice[d] the simple things with love”? I don’t know about you, but the loftiest thought I have when unloading my dishwasher is, “Now I can empty the sink.” How can something so basic to my Christian faith elude me so often? What ARE the things I have given myself to that all but block the paths through which love can be expressed? I stopped math for 2 weeks in January to give Julia time to master her flash cards of math facts—to nail down the basics of math. Since then, her double digit addition has flowed from brain to paper instead of sputtering all the way down. Practicing the basics made her school time more enjoyable, more fruitful. Love. What could be more basic, more fruitful, not to mention, foundational to the Christian faith? What, besides love, could make my days more beautiful, more joyful? Honestly, there are some days I think it is a good cup of coffee……….with whipped cream. How pitiful is that?

Oh, to love as Christ loves me. To fold clothes with thoughts of His Love for me and my family. To slice an apple thanking God for His Love shown to me by countless others. To serve a meal to my family of four with so much Love they think even the broccoli tastes good. To pick up shoes praising God for His expression of Love through the death of Jesus on the cross. Simple? I don’t know yet. Fruitful? Most definitely.

"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born...." Luke 2:6  Love came in the form of man.

"Covet therefore that everlasting Gift."

“We love because He first loved us.” I John 4:19

(Feeling like a bonafide blogger today, posting from the "archives".  I'm still hoping these thoughts to be a consistent reality in my life.  --from February 2009--)

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Beautiful words. I am salivating at those treats from Bluebonnet this morning. Isn't that too many for you all to eat? :) You know we're right across those tracks!