Monday, January 31, 2011

Loving People

Love can be the best or worst emotion you ever experience in our short existence here on the planet Earth. Webster defines love as a feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration; preeminent kindness or devotion to another; affection; tenderness.

Today for me, the idea, the emotion, the feeling of love, after my love for God, is mostly directed toward people. I have loved a dog dearly. I have loved hunting, fishing the mountains and the beach. I have loved good meals, cold beverages on a hot day and a warm fire in our fireplace. Today, however, I feel and experience it mostly in relationship with people. There are those who love others in ways I have yet to experience, and their testimony of love amazes me.

Years ago my dear friend adopted his grandkids. Their mom wasn’t able to care for them and the dads, well let’s just say they were not available. His wife passed away soon after, which was devastating to him. I have rarely heard a man talk so passionately about the woman he loved, loves, than this friend. I can hear it and see it in his eyes, and he remains that way today many years later. For the last several years he has been raising these grandkids alone.

I met him after watching him at the little league and softball field. He was always there, always with them. He told me once, “I don’t know what I would do without them in my life.” He loves and cares for these kids deeply, and the effort he invests in them inspires me endlessly.

Recently he has been very sick, which, for someone in their late 70s, is never good. They have discovered cancer in his liver and lung and are evaluating the extent of the problem and how best it is going to be treated, if at all. As we talked about his concerns, I see the pain of love in his eyes. He so dearly loves his grandkids and doesn’t know exactly what to do next. He is truly a man of honor and respect, loves with his heart and lives it. He expresses his testimony of love so clearly.

My wife’s best friend’s husband is going into the final stages of pancreatic cancer, and he is beginning to get pretty weak. One morning recently we were with them praying and talking. I did the guy thing and asked what he wanted to make sure got done before and after he died. When the girls stepped away for a moment, he told me he would be fine but he worried about her. His biggest concern was to make sure she was surrounded by friends who would love on her.

His love for her is obvious in his eyes when he talks about her. He has adored her since they met and loves her without compromise. They were not married a year when they found out he was sick; he probably won’t see their second anniversary. Today his heart is in every moment they are awake together, the small things, the quiet moments, the tears and laughter. Their love is obvious to all. Their testimony of love is moving.

Mom called last week and told me her doctor found a spot on her breast. As I write this she just called and told us they found cancer in the early stages. Next week she will get it removed and begin preventative radiation. We don’t know the full extent of it until they do a few other tests, but we are hopeful. We are praying for healing and care for her, comfort and rest.

My mom and I are very close and I can’t process the idea of her not being around right now. I love her dearly. I pray my testimony of love is healing.

Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:8, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

I want to learn how to do that. I want to learn to love so well you can see it in my eyes. I don’t want to waste a day angry or distracted. I have lived as a hard man for many years, and I understand it was what I thought I had to do to protect myself. The only way I have found I can get even close to being that man is through my relationship with Christ. There I have found relief, forgiveness, courage, humor and a love beyond anything I have ever known. His testimony of love is forever.

Thanks to my wife for loving me through all things; you are my best friend. To my kids, I love you so much it hurts. Mom, you’re my mom, and I love you so much. To those of you I do life with, you know who you are, thank you. I only pray I am the friend or brother you need and are proud of.

February is the month of love. Love on someone today. Share God’s freedom and love. If you want to know more about Him, I am happy to share it. It’s amazing.

As far as chocolates, flowers and a card on Valentine’s Day, of course. I am smart enough to remember the basics and how it all works. The last thing I want is the ole’ pillow and blanket on the couch invitation. That’s just a drag, I remember.

No comments:

Post a Comment