Monday, June 27, 2005

Love is . . .

Sometimes parents can be downright sappy. Recently I snuck up behind Mrs. Weller and gave her a pat on the bottom and a kiss on the cheek - much to the disgust of our teenage daughter. If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard our resident adolescent say "Dad, that is gross!" I’d have enough to pay for the 487 gallons of water she goes through each time she steps in the shower.

I come by it honestly, though. My dad was (is) one of the mushiest guys I know. There was this cartoon that ran in the newspaper that dad would cut out every chance he got. It was called, I think, "Love Is . . ." It depicted scenes from a wispy couples mundane life. "Love Is . . . washing his back." "Love Is . . . taking the three o’clock feeding." "Love Is . . . saving the last piece of pizza for her." You get the idea. Anyway, my dad would clip these out and would tape them on my mom’s mirror. Invariably, he would put his name beneath the guy and some pet name for my mom beneath the little cartoon girl. Four moves and five states later, I’ll bet if I sneak in their bedroom, those faded cartoons will still be in the corner of her mirror.

Dad may be mushy, but one thing he taught me through his cartoon collage was this: love is a verb. It is not just an emotion; it is an action. Love means doing something.

Paul put it this way in the most-read-at-wedding verses of the Bible:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NLT)
Action, action, action. You can't read Paul's words without realizing that love means we have to do something. If I love my son, I will be more patient. If I love my wife, I will be more kind. If I love my neighbor, I won't rudely honk the horn when I'm cut off in traffic. If I love, I won't give up, lose faith or lose hope.
Maybe, just maybe John (Lenin) was right: "All you need is love." Especially if you think about the words of the other John (the Apostle): God is love.
Stick with me now. I’m coming to a point, really I am. If "God is love", then I can substitute God for love in 1 Corinthians 13. "God is patient and kind." "God is not irritable." "God keeps no record of when he has been wronged." (As far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us. - Psalm 103:12) God never gives up. God never loses faith. God is always hopeful, and God endures in every circumstance.
And here is the point: if God is love, and if love means I receive all these blessings from God (patience, kindness, faith, hope), then I guess I can love those around me by doing the same for them.

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