Monday, February 14, 2005

Thoughts of love

I love you. It's none of my business what you think of me...none of my business. It's my business what I think of you, and I love you. Now, if you happen to love me back, it's a plus. So you can add to my life, but you cannot take away - because I'm not trading with you. I love you, period...because I know who you are, whether you do or not. You're God's children, every one of you. I believe that you can't prove love...if you love someone, you do things for them. Love is not a feeling; it is an action. Love is not 50-50, and it's not 75-25. Love is 1000-to-nothing." (excerpted from Chuck C.'s book A New Pair of Glasses)

I've heard it said that love's a feeling -
but this is only just the start
'Cause feelings change as fast as weather,
And love's a matter of the mind and will,
a matter of the head and heart...
Suppose I walk a thousand highways
To bring you back, when you are lost - this is love...
Suppose it costs me my possessions
And I gladly bear the cost - this is love...
Suppose I face the soldiers' weapons,
Suppose I climb the prison walls - this is love....
But if I give my life to save you,
This is the greatest love of all.

(Ken Medema, The Greatest Love of All, from the CD "In the Dragon's Jaws")

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1st Corinthians 13:13, NIV)
For weeks, across cable and broadcast TV, radio, and the Internet, pink and red hearts have been circulating, and millions of words have been written and spoken all to answer the one question of the day: how do I get them (whoever they are) to "love" me? Suggestions include the right toothpaste, the right brand of mattress, the right car (with a pretty pink or red bow, of course), and of course the right jewelry, flowers, greeting card and meal. Even on Christian radio stations, I keep hearing about suggestions for Valentine's Day gifts, as if somehow if I would just do some thing right, then I'd get romance - which so much of our culture equates with love.

Church C. and singer Ken Medema say it best, for me. Romance is a fleeting (if wonderful) experience, but love is not a feeling, but an action - it is both "a matter of the mind and will....a matter of the head and heart." If I am doing things so that I get love, I've already failed - because the action becomes just the means to an end. It is loving acts that says, as Chuck C. does, "it doesn't matter what I think of're God's kids, and I love you" - regardless of whether anyone returns that love.

I have to admit that I'm often not God-centered or self-assured enough to love like that. But I also know that the Source of love is the One who sacrificed all for me...and on this day, when the culture celebrates being together with someone, I know that even though I walk a single life, I am never alone - and I am always loved. And on Valentine's Day - indeed, every day - that's a very, very good thing to know.

Thank you God, for the gift of life, for the gift of your love, and for the opportunity each and every day to show love. May those who encounter me this day see you in my life through my acts of love and caring. Amen.

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