Ah, love. Since it's spring, young men's fancies (what???) are turning to thoughts of love. It's nearly as thick in the air as pollen.
We use the word "love" liberally. We "love" our mom's mac & cheese; we "love" our new car. Of course, many of us take the time to tell friends and family that we love them.
In the immortal words of Tina Turner: What's love got to do, got to do with it? What's love but a second hand emotion?
All props to Tina (I hope I look half as good at her age!) but that song got many, many things wrong.
Everyone say it together now: "Love is NOT an emotion." Nope, it's not the butterflies in the stomach when that really cute 8th grade boy makes his way across the gym floor to ask you to dance. Love is not about coveting a designer handbag. It's not our affection for our car, our cat or any other possession.
Love, dear reader, is an action.
That's right: love is what you do, not what you say.
Take for example, the abusive husband. He comes home drunk and angry, and beats up his wife. After words, he is remorseful, showering her with reassurances of his love for her.
What should we pay attention to: the words or the actions?
This past Sunday, we heard what is likely the most powerful three word phrase in all of Christianity and possibly the world: God is love.
In the Gospel, Jesus assures his followers that he loves them. They in turn, must love one another. Further, this love moves us past a teacher-student relationship or a master-servant one. Indeed, we are now friends. Jesus says, "I love you." The Apostles and his other followers will soon see the depth of that love, as Christ enters his passion and death.
We are capable of love because God, our Father and Creator, is love. Love can only create love. We are made in God's image so we reflect his love to others by the charitable acts that we do.
Now don't think you need to join a religious order and travel to the far reaches of the globe to really commit these acts of love. In fact, that would probably be far easier than what God has planned for most of us.
You want to love as God loves? Then tell your spouse how thankful you are for the food he/she prepared. (Don't mention that you don't really like chicken four times a week, and you certainly don't like Brussel sprouts.) Just say "thank you."
You want to love as God loves? Spend time with him in prayer and meditation. Walk in the woods. Walk down the sidewalk. Walk through an airport. God is there, in every single person. Find yourself in awe of God creative power.
You want to love as God loves? Reach out to the kid in the lunchroom who always eats alone. Reach out to that young woman in accounting whom everyone says is an idiot.
You want to love as God loves? Listen to someone's story. Don't ask questions. Don't interrupt. Listen. Listen for the places of love in that story.
God is love. So are we. Now get to work. It's that simple.
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