Monday, July 18, 2011

The Power of Love

I've been thinking a lot lately about love and what it actually means to love and be loved.  I fully embrace the truth that there is neither a better nor more perfect love than what God has for us, but what about the love between flawed human beings?  Can we actually love without hurting?  Give without taking?  Move without being shaken? Or, are we destined to always feel with reservation and experience endless hurt by love's unprecedented ability to deliver heart shattering blows of force?  In my own life, I've experienced love so strongly that my heart felt as though it may burst, and pain so jagged that I didn't want to live, both feelings of which resulted from love's impact.  I once decided that if it be true love, pain simply could not follow, but then I'm reminded of the pain inflicted upon Jesus all in the name of love.  As He endured torturous beatings and inexplicable pain during His crucifixion, it was love that kept Him steadfast on the cross as nails were driven into his body.  In reality only true love knows real pain.  What a tragically beautiful paradox that the most enjoyable facet of life is also probably the most painful. So, why bother searching for love if one of its major components is seemingly incomprehensible pain and suffering?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No Better Love

Not long ago, I found myself questioning God about my place in the world, as well as my place in various relationships.  "Am I where I'm meant to be?" was only one of the many questions I asked with genuine uncertainty.  His answer has been absolutely transforming, both emotionally and spiritually, as well as circumstantially.  While I actively participate in the changes now occurring within my life, I wonder why He used what He did to bring me to where He has, though as I continue to wonder, I accept that I may never know.  Ultimately, His methods are of little consequence as long as I recognize His ever present hand of love within each of my days and my life's outcome.  It is this love that finally brought me to my knees in grateful appreciation over both the good and bad in my life, those times that have already been and those that are yet to come.  I'm finally getting it.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Pain of Goodbye

It seems that goodbye is a recurrent theme for so many people both today and just recently. While some are saying goodbye after the death of a loved one, others are saying goodbye in the midst of simply parting ways, neither of which is easy.  On the contrary, goodbye is most commonly associated with pain in the heart, tear stained cheeks, and remorse over things left unspoken.  As I make peace with my own internal, as well as outward, goodbyes, I'm reminded of how difficult it is to move forward in the face of sadness, pain, and despair.  How, then, does one ease the painful sting associated with goodbye?  Though there's a general psychologically appointed process of grieving, I believe the best way of easing pain is by remembering, not just subconsciously, but deliberately and purposely.  So often, we think our pain will subside when we forget who or what it is on goodbye's other end, but I think we have that wrong; I believe the best way to ease our suffering is by saying to the person or situation, "I will remember you, now and always."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back to Him

Not far from where we live, there's a 13 mile bike path that leads straight to the beach, and today we decided to go for a ride.  With very little thought about who or what we might encounter, we packed up the bikes and set out.  I never imagined that from it would stem a defining moment of clarity over what I've been enduring for the last few weeks. Laughing in the car on the way over because my son refused to remove his protective helmet, I vowed to keep him safe.  "Ashton, you don't have to wear that in the car.  I'm going to drive safely, I promise," I assured him, but he stubbornly refused to take it off.  So, I snapped a picture and continued on towards our destination.  Still laughing over Ashton's insistence to wear his helmet, I stopped to pick up several bottles of water so we didn't dehydrate in the heat.  After selecting a combination of regular and vitamin waters, we resumed driving.  Upon arrival, we unloaded the bikes and walked to the path.  Directly in front of us was a homeless man asleep under a tree, clearly trying to stay cool from the high temperatures.  Next to him lay several trash bags, a bike, some other miscellaneous items, and a loyal dog.  He was dirty, disheveled, and clearly tired.  For those inclined to say "yeah, or drunk," I ask that you take a long, hard look in the mirror and if you like what you see, keep looking until you find that speck in your eye because I assure you there's one there.  Whether he was intoxicated or tired isn't the real issue.  He lay on the ground a broken and weathered man in man's most humble state - he was absolutely beautiful and fully loved by God even if not by man.  As I looked at him, I wanted to just stay near him and make sure he was left alone by passersby, and in that moment I was reminded of why I'm here; it's not to serve myself, but to serve God.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Last Day

What would you do differently today if you knew today was your last day? Lately, each time I set my iPod to shuffle, the Nickelback song off to the right never fails to be one of the randomly selected songs out of around 200 on a list.   I've always liked it, but the frequent rate at which I've been coincidentally coming across it recently has caused me to question just that - if today was my last day, would I be happy with how I spent it?  Would you?  I imagine living in such freedom from worry, hurt, anger, and resentment.  I imagine holding my loved ones close, and I imagine doing the very things that in this moment make me feel frightened by their mere thought.  I would love more, and hurt less.  I would laugh until I hurt, and I would step out in faith for all the things I believe in, but feel too scared to act on.  I would throw caution to the wind and live fully in each moment of each day. I would let nothing stand in my way from that which I believe in deeply.  Most importantly, I would love.  Do you know what you would do if you knew tomorrow wouldn't come?