I've been meaning to write, but my heart and head have been all over the place. When word broke that a coworker passed away onsite last night, I felt it was finally time.
You know, I look at social media posts and comments all the time, and it occured to me that we still have no idea what love really is. I like to think I show it. I like to think I'm known for it. I've traveled across the country just to show that I care. I've traveled to the next cities over to show one person that I appreciate them. I've spent countless hours and dollars just to reach out. I also have to fight the pride that comes with that when things don't work out. But no matter how much I have done, or will do, I still have no idea what love is in its purest and perfect form. It's a subject I write about a lot, but I'm still learning it. And judging from said posts and comments, it's clear that a lot of us don't. And I hate to call that out, but it's true.
We talk about what the perfect guy, or girl, is like all the time. But all that's really doing is saying we want these qualities and it doesn't matter who it comes from. We value the actions more than the person. We think that what the "right person" offers is more valuable than who they are. Better yet, we are more concerned with having a partner than we are deepening our friendships.
And then we read about a tragedy and fall apart. We talk about how great that person was or how much of a difference they made. But I've noticed that it's only that time when we talk about the difference being made. It's only in tragedy when those people are mentioned or recognized. We talk about how awesome that person was AFTER they've passed away and never when they were alive.
I get that's not always the case, but from what I see it's mostly what happens. I admit, I'm guilty of it, too.
When I read the news about Christina Grimmie, I cried for like an hour. And I would tear up thinking about it for the past week. I knew nothing of the girl. I've only seen a few covers she did, but I knew I loved them. There were countless other people who actually followed her and knew what she was up to.
Again, tragedies suck. They're painful. They're hard. We have a really hard time dealing with them because they're unexpected. We're much more at peace when we know it's coming...... but when we don't, it's much harder to deal with. They leave us asking why. They leave us sad and angry. They leave us fallen apart and broken. And they're inevitable. Anything can happen at any day at any time. And there is so much we take for granted because of how unexpected they are.
And here is where love also kicks in. Has your heart ever grieved upon reading tragic news about a stranger? I will tell you now that if your answer is no, you haven't truly loved. We have all painted this picture of love in a beautiful setting, but that is only one face of it. Expecting love wrapped up in a perfect bow is a horrible way of viewing it. It's messy and chaotic and sacrifical and hard.
Love is hard. We think it's easy and in some settings it comes naturally, like with parents and children. Sure, it's easy to make time and invest in those areas. But if we're not doing it for strangers, people who've hurt us, or people who disagree with us, then we're really just keeping love in a box. It exceeds beyond just that wrapped up box.
Love is sacrificial. It means that you have to stop just looking at yourself and see the people in front of you. It means meeting needs instead of your wants. If someone is hungry, do you feed them? If someone is thirsty, do you give them a drink? If someone is hurting, do you wash their wounds? If someone is cold, do you offer them your coat?
Love casts out fear. It makes me sick to think that our nation's leaders want to shut out the land of the free to those who have been misplaced. Those who have lost their families to terrorists or war. Those who have nothing but the clothes on their backs. They get shut out because of a few bad apples. Guess what? You will always have that no matter what community you are a part of. Christians, LGBT's, Muslims, African Americans, and so on and so forth. It doesn't matter. There's always going to be someone out there that gives the wrong impression of everyone else in these. And yet, we cower in fear when those bad apples pop up.
I believe Jesus is the answer. In Him only do we find perfect peace, perfect rest, and perfect life. He guaranteed there will be trouble in this world. Why? Because sin exists. But it's only through Him that we can continue on, because He is the one who puts us back together when we fall apart. His heart breaks with ours. His heart hurts with ours. He didn't promise to provide an exit plan for all the crap we face. He promised Himself. And before we ask why He just doesn't prevent the crap, let's think about what we really want through it all......
We all want someone to be there for us. To be there when it all hits the fan. To stick around when we mess up. We all want someone to never leave us. That's what He offers to be.
So when you're sitting there thinking you have it all together and understand love. I'm going to tell you that maybe you should take a good long hard look at what love really is.
I'm guilty. I'm still learning about it. And crazy enough, I even learn about what it looks like when tragedy hits.