In my book, “An Intimate Collision,” the first chapter engages the these of “love.” But it does so not in the sense of human love and the shallowness of that kind of love. Rather, it engages it in terms of God’s love, which is both the fullest embodiment of love as well as the fullest expression of our humanity. A quote drawn from that chapter reads as follows:
“Laced with the haze and mist of exhaustion, yet sprinkled at the edges with some slight bit of remaining magic, she looked into my eyes and said the four words that no gift awaiting me under any tree could possibly say as well. Softly, she mumbled the words ‘I love you, Daddy.’ A tiny smile curled across her sleepy lips. Then she rolled over and drifted off to sleep.”
I love you. It’s said all the time…the words I mean. But too often they’re not said in something that’s more than just words. They’re not said in actions, or choices, or in putting ourselves second to those that we say we love. Sometimes we think it’s the right thing to say, or there’s some sense of obligation where we’re supposed to say that, or if we don’t say it things aren’t going to go well. Sometimes it’s more some kind of gesture that calms a situation, or gets us out of a situation, or keeps a situation from being created in the first place. And sometimes, it’s said to get us what we want at the expense of the person that we want it from.
But you know what’s tragic about all of that. What’s really tragic? It’s that we lose. We lose. We give up what love is and what it could be for these lesser agendas, and these greed-driven motives, and these petty desires. We forfeit the true power of love for what we think love can get us. We use it as some sort of tool instead of a life-altering gift…first to others and then to ourselves. We cheapen it, we abuse it, we play with it like it’s something that you can actually play with in the first place, and we suffer. We suffer. And what’s worse, we make others suffer. And maybe, just maybe, we should stop the suffering.
And we can do that by asking “What is God’s love?” What’s the kind of love that transcends all of the barriers, every obstacle, greed of the most tenacious sort, and the selfishness that chips away at love and renders it incapacitated? And if we were to unleash that kind of love in our lives (despite the cost of doing so), would things be changed or would they be transformed? And in looking at a world in utter disarray, wouldn’t it be likely that love is the only thing that has the potency and the depth and the longevity to change what all of the lesser things have failed to change? I think so. And so, maybe we need to take a lesson from I Corinthians chapter 13, and begin to love like never before.