Love – you’ve heard of it?

It’s Valentine’s day! The discussions are about love, lots of talk about 50 shades of grey and it’s abusive message – which I have no plans to see and have never been interested in reading. But I must say that, after 40 years of marriage (next month), I think I know LOVE – it’s Creator and the earthly manifestation in marriage, family, and outside relationships.
When do you reach the stage when you are qualified to talk about love and are deemed an expert? We all know that going to a marriage counselor who has been married 4 times doesn’t make him an expert on marriage . . . but it may make him an expert on failure. (It’s called irony) Like a fire truck on fire, or a sheep allergic to wool.
But here’s the thing. There is NOTHING on earth that can compare to the deep love that two people share, year after year and decade after decade. And this is but a glimmer of the love that God has for us.
If you have been blessed with this kind of love, where you know and trust someone so completely, feel at home in their company, and still thrill at the thought of seeing them at the end of the day, then you know where I am coming from. This love, so deep, so much like breathing, so complete, is very hard to describe to someone on the outside. But I can encourage those who have never had it for themselves – it is available to you through the Lord Jesus Christ who will complete you like no other can.
Because of Him, I can share an unguarded love with my husband, my family, and with those who may even hate me – or hate what I stand for. He is my rock and will lift me up when others fail. He will never turn His back on me when I mess up. He will keep all of my dreams and wishes, losses and gains until I see Him face to face. Knowing this, I am overwhelmed by the paths He has led me down, unworthy of the gifts He has given me, brought to tears by the love He has shown me. How can I not show this same love to those I come across in life?
There are people out there who have NEVER known unconditional love from anyone. Shouldn’t I reach out to them? I think of my homeless friend, Tim, who is so quick to remind me that he is a victim of relatives who owe him money, a victim of a mortgage company that would not work with him when he lost his job, (and, therefore, he lost his house) a victim of the public who looks down their noses at him because he doesn’t fit in. I listen to his story over and over again so that he knows that I know that he is a worthy person. I must show him that he is much more than worthy, that he is loved by the Creator and that He will love him where he is, He will lift him up and provide for him, (perhaps through me) and will give him the love he has never known in his 53 years. Tim has Huntington’s disease, which is always fatal. Should I turn away because I know he is doomed? Or should I try to reach out with the wisdom that God gives to those who ask? His pride prevents him from accepting too many gifts from me. He keeps saying he’ll “pay me back” when he gets some of that money from his relatives, or a job, or whatever. Soon, I’ll reach the point where I can tell him why I have any interest in helping him. Why I keep coming back with gift cards and meals, a listening ear and a smile. All these things add up to making him see that I’m in it for the long haul. God doesn’t give up. There is a reason why Tim came into my life, and I’ll keep praying for him and being his friend.  Love does that. God’s love, through me, towards Tim the Homeless guy.
Mark 12:31 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’