“Love isn’t love until you give it away.”
It’s Valentine’s Day and our thoughts always seem to turn to romantic love on this day and bountiful bouquets of blooming flowers and heart shaped boxes, filled with delectable delights of chocolate, prettily wrapped in colors of red or pink and exquisite, expensive jewelry.
For some, it’s a day of swooning delirium when your true love bestows gifts that supposedly demonstrate just how much you are adored. For others, it’s a day to ignore or dread – just ask any single young woman without a boyfriend what she thinks of Valentine’s Day and you’ll see what I mean.
I know I will not receive a gift from my true love today and I’m totally fine with that. Matter of fact, I told my husband not to buy me anything. When you’ve been married for 33 years, Valentine’s Day just doesn’t seem that important. My husband doesn’t need to spend money on gifts to prove his love for me because he expresses his love every day and not necessarily in words.
Hubby proves his love by the way he fulfills his role as husband to me and father to our three children. I see that he loves me when he does something as mundane as unloading the dishwasher or preparing a meal. I feel his love when he listens to my frustrations and understands where I’m coming from. Even a simple act like bringing me a hot cup of tea in the morning expresses his love to me.
Seems to me if we are going to set aside a day to celebrate the emotion of love, then that day should encompass all forms of love, not just the romantic kind. Love is the one thing for which every person on this planet yearns. We humans were created to love and be loved and God showed us so well how to do that when He sent His son Jesus to earth to personify love.
“For God so loved the world (that’s us) that he gave His one and only Son, (that’s Jesus Christ) that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (Now, that’s a gift of love!) ~John 3:16 (New International Version – my words in italicized parenthesis)
I was reminded today that there’s so much more to love than flowers and romantic thoughts. This morning, I sent my adult children a text message saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day to my three sweeties. I love you very much!” Lucky for me, all three of them responded much in the same way. “Thanks. I love you too, Mom!”
Family love means the world to me, but there are those who don’t experience that kind of comforting love in their families, those who only know ridicule and discord, who don’t feel loved even in their own homes. My heart aches for those who haven’t experienced that kind of love, but that’s where God steps in if you let Him. He is our ever loving Father and He pours His love into the holes in our frail human hearts that family couldn’t or wouldn’t fill.
Once we experience God’s saving love and grace, He tells us “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” ~John 15:12-14
Most of the time it’s easy to love our friends because we like them, they generally treat us well, and we enjoy their company. Today a former co-worker visited our office. We haven’t seen her for a very long time as she moved away to another state and hasn’t been back here in many years. We shared stories, joys and struggles. And as we hugged goodbye, these words rolled off my tongue, “Love ya!” I’m that kind of person. If I care for you, I’m definitely going to let you know and I often tell my friends how much I love them.
It’s easy to love those who are beautiful inside and out and we should let those we love know it, not just on Valentine’s Day but every time we are together. But how easy is it for us to love the rest of the world?
You know, those we don’t agree with, those who treat us with disdain, those who have issues that are difficult to deal with, those who are just plain unlovable, those that hate us. Jesus addressed that in Matthew 5:43-44 when He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
I’ll tell you what, that is not an easy thing for me. Valentine’s Day or any day. So on this celebratory day of love, this 14th page, Chapter Two, in my Opportunity book, I need to examine my view of love, especially when it pertains to those I may have deemed unlovable. Do they see love in me?
“Love isn’t love until you give it away.”