Reminders: Love is a Many Splendered Thing
by Ardith Hoff
If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with. If it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, uses your phone, takes your money and never behaves as if you actually set it free in the first place, you either married it or gave birth to it!
We can joke about love, but it’s true that we sometime treat the ones we say we love in non-loving ways. Spouses sometimes disrespect each other. Children sometimes run households because parents fail to discipline them effectively. Neighbors sometimes allow their pets or children to leave messes or destroy property. Even church members sometimes snipe at other members over petty slights. Romantic love fades and Christ’s commandment to, “love your neighbor as yourself” is not always easy to implement. It is too easy to treat the people closest to us worse than we would treat complete strangers.
When my son got married, I wrote a blessing for the relationship. It could apply to other relationships as well: “May your love be as sustaining as a well spring to a stream/ but never only flowing one direction. May your caring be as constant as the rising of the sun/ but neither as predictable, nor taken for granted. May your days be as full as the oceans at high tide, / but never too full to find time for each other. May your affections be as faithful as the moon is to the earth, / but never cold or indifferent. May your expressions be as warm as the sunlight on your hair, / but never without kindness and the courtesy afforded friends. May your marriage be as lasting as the pyramids and more, / but never without the freshness of a courtship just beginning.”
Married love needs constant awareness and thoughtful tending. Parental love can be challenging, but is well worth the effort. Neighborly love, love within the church family or at work is challenging at times, but with thoughtful tending, it too can be rewarding. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2