Sunday, April 22, 2012
Love is a Verb
- Robert Heinlein
I love you. These may be the most coveted words in the English language. When spoken, they can convey the crazy mix of emotions one feels when enamored with another. When heard, this simple phrase evokes security, belongingness, and announces to the world that we matter.
As a mother, daughter, sister and friend, I used to say these words casually – without much regard for what it truly meant or the responsibility it carried. I loved my mother simply because she gave birth to me. I loved my boys simply because I gave birth to them, etc., etc. But as I’ve grown older (and a bit wiser), experiences have transformed my definition completely. For example, a few years ago, a good friend became ill and didn’t want to see or speak to anyone except her immediate family for several months. For me – Type A Supreme – this was difficult because I wanted so badly to be there for her, to see her, and to comfort her in any way I could. And why not? She was my friend; I loved her. But as time passed, my frustration subsided as I realized what I was saying. Though my intentions were good, I was more concerned about what I wanted than what she needed. At that point, our relationship changed. Since spending time together and talking weren’t options, mailed cards and text messages had to suffice. Amazingly, our friendship grew closer. From that experience, I discovered that love is less about feeling and more about doing.
In keeping with this theme, I’d love to take credit for this concept, but I can’t. God’s word (1 Corinthians chapter 13) provides the true definition of love, as follows:
Love is patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out… Love never fails.
So what’s the lesson? Love involves more than Valentine’s wishes and fancy dinners. It’s greater than sending and receiving gifts or ensuring that our children have the latest this-or-that. These are merely expressions. Truly loving someone means going beyond our own desires and doing things that may not be convenient but are necessary for the greater good.
My hope is that the next time you tell someone “I love you,” their response is, “Yes, I know,” assuming that you have shown them love continuously. This simple reply is not out of conceit or sarcasm, but because your actions have already proven what words can only attempt to convey. In short, love is a verb.
Your comments are welcome.