What Is Love’— Defined Differently by Everyone
The temperature has finally dropped a bit and the humidity level’s not so bad. There’s a hint of fall in the air ‘— my favorite time of year.
Fall is a time when I can relax a bit; think about the year that’s past and what I’ll do with what’s left of it. It’s a time when I can finally get outside and work in the yard a little, not for the sake of accomplishing great things but just so I can think. The summer time is just too hot for that. By the time the grass is cut I’m ready to collapse on the couch and call it a day. But in the fall I can get the weed eating done, the bushes trimmed if they still need it and the yard all raked up. It’s kind of relaxing while doing something useful at the same time. The reward at the end of the day is a campfire and a nice piece of salmon cooked up on the grill.
Sunday night I found my spot. On half-painted patio furniture I’ve been refinishing, I sat back and looked up at the stars through the vignetting canopy of trees in my back yard. The air was cool, the crickets were signing and there was a peacefulness about the night. That’s gonna be my spot this fall, I determined ‘— my place to think, to reassess and to recharge.
I realized I worry too much. I worry about deadlines, money, housework, gas prices… whatever, I just worry. One thing that worries me is the brevity of life: How long will I have my loved ones around? How long will I live? What if I wake up tomorrow and I’m 99 years old and I realize I’ve missed it all?
Then I think of all the other people in the world. The ones who seem to have it made and lack nothing. Then what about the ones who are suffering? The ones who’ve lost their loved ones to violence, starvation or whatever the case may be. I’ve never faced anything like that. Should I feel thankful, or guilty?
But then something I heard about in Sunday school this morning makes me think differently. God is sovereign, so who am I to question him? We often say to ourselves, ‘“If God really loved me He would do this, or wouldn’t let that happen.’”
We, or at least I, try to make God fit my definition of love, by comparing Him to our worldly definitions. When the simple answer is the one He’s already told us, that God himself is love.
Perhaps children have the best grasp on this. They haven’t been tainted like the rest of us. I think that’s why God made them, to show us his unconditional love.
I usually hate these cheesy emails that go around, but one I received seemed to hit the nail on the head. In it, this is what several children had to say about what love is:
‘“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’” ‘— Rebecca – age 8
‘“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’” ‘— Billy – age 4
‘“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’” ‘— Karl – age 5
‘“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’” ‘— Danny – age 7
‘“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss’” ‘— Emily – age 8
‘“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.’” ‘— Bobby – age 7
‘“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,’” ‘— Nikka – age 6
‘“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’” ‘— Cindy – age 8
‘“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’” ‘— Elaine – age 5
‘“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’” ‘— Chris – age 7
‘“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’” ‘— Lauren – age 4
‘“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think its gross.’” ‘— Mark – age 6