“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.”
I Corinthians 14:1 MSG
Tag Archives: love
From my last post, one can read about the good times my family and I had while being all together for the first time in over a year. It was a phenomenal way to kick off the new year and I wish it could have lasted longer!
Over the week, however, I really struggled with the battles waging in my mind. I know–you will tell me something like, “Mel, you are beautiful. Don’t believe the lies that say otherwise,”–but right at the start, looking around at my beautiful family talking and laughing over our Spaghetti Warehouse dinner..I just wanted to burst into tears. I felt different, distant than everyone else. It was only the beginning of my “happy face” week.
I think in part it is frustration at my current hand condition. As the numbness increases, so does the weakness and curling of my fingers. Tasks that should be fast, are now taking me longer or requiring help. One that is most frustrating of all is putting in my hearing aid. Some days I just can’t, so I either go without it (which I do okay in lip-reading) or someone else puts it in for me. It was putting in my hearing aid before our late lunch on Sunday that caused me to get so frustrated that once I finally got it placed in my ear, I looked in the mirror and told myself, “Just put on your happy face.”
I know–I can be honest with my family and should not hide emotions, but I get tired of it being about my health. I feel my conversations with people are most often about my health (if they ask about it) or books, coffee, or small talk such as this. My first engaging conversation I have had in a long time was when we came home from the Creation Museum the Friday before and we started discussing Darwin, natural selection, and evolution. Don’t get me wrong, the car ride to the museum had us in conversation of memories–hilarious–but memories are different than deep questions (if you get what I mean.) Back to Sunday, the battling of emotions and lies in my head did not fool my sister, Marcia, as I came back into the kitchen.
She asked what I what I wanted to drink and I snapped, “Water,” then headed to Mom’s bathroom to see if she had a hair clip. Not being able to do my hair anymore was also bugging me. Next thing I know, I am a sobbing mess and Marcia finds me like this–anything but happy. Ironic, just releasing those anger and frustration thoughts helped me release the tight emotions. Marcia said that we are family–I don’t have to put on a happy face for them. Easier said than done when you battle “burden” thoughts for over ten years. Mom found us and helped me put up my hair. The evening turned out to be one of great memories and laughs. With a true happy face.
Not even a day later, I find myself in the worst possible situation I have ever had physically. It’s not G-rated and I don’t wish to discuss it…but let’s just say that night I was sick, and I mean literally sick. It was awful. I have never felt so humiliated even though I was at home just with family. Without asking questions, Marcia and Mom set out to assist me, as once again, I am a sobbing mess. I even said, “This is when I hate my body.” And I meant it. While helping me, and cleaning up at the same time, I am not sure how the conversation flow happened, but I remember Marcia looking up and saying, “Because you’re family and we love you.”
Holley Gerth–author, speaker, fellow blogger–wrote a post, “What’s your one word for 2014?” It was sent to my inbox the morning of the humiliating incident evening. I read it, but I did not start to think serious about something like this until a few days later. I have never claimed a life verse or a yearly word. I know others who have, but especially a yearly word–seemed like a resolution to me and I never meet my resolutions, thus, I don’t make them at the beginning of the year. I just used that as my excuse, I suppose. Maybe it was something about Marcia’s comment that caused me to see different.
My health is something that affects much greater than myself. For my family, I can’t grasp the depth of their sacrifices on my part due to health or what it means for all of us in the future. But what I saw the night of my most vulnerable physical state was Love. It was sacrifice. It was pure. We say the word “love” all the time, about anything, but are we really giving ourselves away in the process? In thinking of Holley’s question, I found myself trying to find the “perfect” word for my year of 2014. It didn’t take me long to oust the perfection part and just gather a word. I thought of many but found myself returning to this: there is only one perfect Love and through my sister and Mom’s actions, I saw Jesus.
That is Love.
What is my one word for 2014?
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
~I John 3:18
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
After sitting in the car, waiting rooms or doctor appointments (not to mention almost three hours in the MRI machine), my attempts to write a few emails Thursday evening were fatal as I was so cold, I just couldn’t function–namely my hands. I heated the scarf my aunt gave me (it is designed that way…therapeutic), got cozy, put on my slippers, made some tea and sat down to watch the movie– The Second Chance. It has been a long time since I have watched the movie; and I only thought of it, because my friend and I had brought it up during our coffee chat a few weeks ago.
The movie is set in America–typical big city where you have the “rich” side of town and then the other. In this case, the story is themed over the church–on the rich side, it is The Rock. However, their roots started at the sister church on the poor side of town. “The Second Chance” church serves the community in that part of town. The movie encircles faith in action…0n the common ground: getting out of your comfort zone; laying down pride; living by faith; serving, loving, forgiving.
I am not going to spoil the movie, but I will say that Pastor Jake’s ending less-than-five-minutes speech is one of the best sermons I have ever heard. It is profound and so truthful. In light of the movie’s events, he reminds his congregation that they are commanded to love their enemies, even in the face of injustice.
Jesus said to love our enemies and pray for them (Matthew 5:43-48). I don’t have enemies (not to my knowledge), but in terms, there are certain individuals both in my past and a few in the present in which I hold bitter thoughts towards. In loving my enemies, I am also commanded to forgive my enemies; and although I do not see them as “enemies,” the fact I am bitter towards them sort of implies enemy status. Those in my past, I have no contact with anymore; the forgiveness is now between me and the Lord.
The present bitterness is caused by the feeling of injustice; I feel robbed of time over the past few months mainly in the area of driving. The lack of trust and inconsistency of “concerns” resulting in a long period of waiting caused me to become angry. I felt angry for my family–the extra burden it placed on them during that time. And just when I can drive, my car goes in the shop for a week; why didn’t I just take it over (three minutes down the road) when I was not dependent on it? So I am angry at myself for being too nice–for trying too hard to not “do anything wrong.”
The question is then, “How long do I wish to remain angry? Bitter?” It will only keep me in the past, which is where I don’t want to be anyway. Forgiveness is hard; like prayer, it is easier to mouth than mean it sincerely in your heart. It may not be a drastic change overnight, but the choice is mine: will I love, pray and forgive my enemies–just as God in Christ did for me? (Ephesians 4:32)