I was watching the news this week as those intrepid climbers in Yosemite were clinging by their finger tips to the sheer rock face of El Capitan. I watched them methodically inching along… ascending slowly to the top to victory! I thought this an excellent visual of Love. Love should be like that! You should strap on the gear and hang on as though your life depended on it. Don’t look down, failure is not an option, keep moving on up. That’s committed love!
Love is a vastly over-used word. We love the latest technology, the latest fashion, we love a good cup of coffee and we love what we received for Christmas. No doubt this a downfall of the English language or a dumbing down of the vocabulary of average folks, we all seem guilty, on some level, of lumping everything together with the same verbage. There also seems a shocking lack of distinction between degree’s of feeling even in our relationships. We love our kids, our poodle or our best friend and our spouse. Only the context is used for unraveling the true type of feeling being discussed. Perhaps I am parsing words here or being too analytical of the semantics, however, unconditional love now only seems to be required with our pets and progeny…and sometimes not even with them. Love doesn’t seem to have the same criteria as it did back in the day. In this easy- come, easy- go microwave state of mind, love is pretty cheap and no longer comes with an expectation of endurance.
Love has gotten lost in a culture that increasingly values relationships of all sorts, based on what another party can bring to the table or their financial prospectus rather than to value qualities useful in life’s never-ending battles. If couples find that they have lost that euphoric equivalent of “the new car smell” of being ‘ in love” then by all means toss the whole thing and rush to find a renewal of that elusive feeling. Dating websites now cater to every group imaginable and with a click of a button hundreds of options are enticingly available for review like so many sugar cookies to be sampled and evaluated.
This post wasn’t intended to be a referendum on online dating, for or against! Nor is it a treatise on staying married no matter what. The observation was more that societally, over the years, we can no longer adequately even define real love. While I don’t discount the effervescent effect of hormones and chemistry, Love involves so much more than emotion. It is a recipe concocted of things our culture doesn’t really talk about, model or hold dear anymore. True love relationships involve layers of trust, honor, covenant relationship, fealty and tenacity( even when you don’t feel like it) and a really good sense of humor… to only mention a few vital ingredients. Literally, if we can no longer define nor recognize the real value of it when we have it are we not more likely to let it slip away. Sadly, since Love has become so shallow and disposable in all these other areas of our lives then we are liable, spiritually, to misunderstand the import of the marvelous gift that Christ has offered us through his death on the cross and the enormity of the power that his True Love Legacy has left us with until his return. (John 3:16)
We need to look at every one of our earthly relationships both casual and serious, our friends, our children our spouses, and treat them as though they are a precious gold mine. If you had a real gold mine you would guard it, insure it, work hard at it daily, explore it and defend it to the death if anyone came to jump your claim or steal those assets from you. We may not even have assayed the real value of that ore or what sort of precious metals or stones may lie within; but we need to treat it as a precious, enormously valuable resource worthy to be held on to and treasured. That’s how Jesus looks at us. He counted us worth the cost! Can we do any less?
In these early weeks of the New Year, take a moment to really think about what true love entails. How are you treating your Gold Mines? How are you teaching your children and their children to treat the Gold Mines in their lives?
True Love: It should stand the storms. And, the storms are coming! It should rise up like a lioness when outside forces threaten or criticize. Like those men on the rock face of El Capitan, love should be hanging on for dear life! ( OK, I’ll say it…we need to cling to the Rock!)
Love should fight side by side with you in the foxhole when things are hard and watch your back while you are sleeping.