A Love Story in the Making
On this week of Valentine’s Day cards, chocolate hearts, and red roses, stop for a minute and ask yourself honestly the question, “How well am I loving?”
Every great story, whether penned in the eloquent words of a poet or lived inside the very breaths of a human being, are marked by love. I’m not talking about the love we read in saccharine Valentine cards or watch on reality TV shows, but a selfless, sacrificial love that like an arrow, has the power to pierce through and touch the most intimate places of our being, our very souls. I’m talking about a love that takes us down to the nub of our humanity, that secret place that no one else can see, but reveals who we truly are.
I believe that our lives are love stories in the making! Although complicated, unpredictable, and often a little hairy, the human story, each unique, was designed by and for love. Each plot is woven through with opportunity after opportunity for love to take the starring role in every story. No well-written story is ever predictable, not when free will abounds! The only certainty is that the Divine Author envisioned that love would always win in the end.
Love in all of its expressions and experiences provides the working outline for God’s story of creation. The creative genius comes from the Divine Author’s willingness to allow each one of us to give our story its own unique, creative flair. We call this literary device free will. Unfortunately, God’s greatest gift of empowering us to make our own choices of how our love story is written, can also be our greatest curse. A hero is only born when he or she chooses love despite the twists and turns, arcs and ravines, joys and sorrows, that are inevitable to the plot of humanity’s road to salvation.
Our capacity to love and receive love becomes the true measure of who we are; protagonists or antagonists; heroes or villains, in God’s ultimate love story. When we love, we reveal the best of our humanity and give hints to our divinity. Any great hero knows that love has this miraculous way of smoothing out the rough edges that come with being human. Love has the power to move us out of the shadows and back into the light, and save us when we feel like we’ve hit our end, certain all hope is lost. Love also has this beautiful way of softening us so that we can forgive, even when every fiber of our being wants otherwise. Love allows us to admire another’s story, especially when it reads differently than our own, instead of casting judgement. But more than anything, love is the answer to the unanswerable questions, the great unknowns, and the nettlesome doubts that plague our mortal existence.
Any Oscar-worthy story is ultimately a journey; A pilgrimage to find one’s personal truth, truths about the world, and especially truths about God. Any well-written, or should I say, well-lived story should come full circle: Beginning and ending in love.
But loving and all that it entails is not easy! You can’t become a hero of your story with the snap of a finger! It takes work, discipline, humility, personal sacrifice, and grace!!!
Recently, my son Charlie explained his spiritual philosophy. He said, “Mom, when you are young, you are really close to God and it’s easy to get your prayers to God. It’s easy to love. But as you get older and more involved in the world, the distance between you and God becomes wider and wider, and you have to work much harder to reach God. You even have to work harder to love.“
It’s sad but true. Right now, Charlie moves through the world with only his heart as his compass, just as God, the Almighty Author, intended. But soon enough, Charlie will face the other powers that will compete for his soul. And these powers are mightily seductive: pride, ambition, cowardice, self-absorbtion, fear, resentments, and busyness. It is all of these earthly “villains” that challenge our ability to love well, to be heroes in God’s Love Story.
Remember, the plots of our individual stories are defined by our relationships; the broken and the tightly woven. How well are we loving family, friends, strangers, ourselves, the greater cosmos, and most importantly the Divine?
Do our lives reflect a love story in the making?
Live in Hope,