The Language of Love

I am sure most of us find it interesting when children speak their mind about love. Concerning why love happens between two particular people, Jan, 9, says, “No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That's why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” What is the proper age to get married? Judy, 8, says, “Eighty-four! Because at that age, you don't have to work anymore, and you can spend all your time loving each other in your bedroom.” What do most people think when they say I love you? Michelle, 9, says, “The person is thinking: Yeah, I really do love him. But I hope he showers at least once a day.” And how to make love endure? Tom, 7, says, “Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work. Roger, 8, says, “Don't forget your wife's name. That will mess up the love.”

Like these children, love is still a mystery to most of us. In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl wrote, “A thought transfixed me: For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth—that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: the salvation of man is through love and in love.”

Love is the language of God. When God created the earth and sent His Son, it was because of love. When His Son decided to save the world, it was because of love. And when the Holy Spirit dwelt upon us in every action we make, it is because of love.

Jesus became the Word of God because to know Jesus is to know love. God wants us to love one another as he has loved us. How has he loved us? Always and ever. No matter what, when, who, where, why. No matter how. God loves us to death and that makes me shudder in thought. Because if we have to love as Jesus wants us, we need to love one another until death.

All of us who have been in love and had been loved know what that kind of love means. No lover is immune to tears and suffering. Every lover knows the value of pain and loneliness. For without the readiness to suffer, without the inclination to cry, without the offer to sacrifice, there can never be love.

Loving one another can never be easy, but love is the way to God. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin may have said it best, "It is impossible to love Christ without loving others, and it is impossible to love others without moving nearer to Christ.”

It is part of our human nature that not everybody can like us. It is also part of our being human that we cannot like everybody. Maybe we find some of them obnoxious and rude. Maybe we just do not like them. Or, perhaps we see them as reflections of ourselves and we do not like what we see.

There will always be an excuse to not liking people. But there is no excuse in not loving. How can we not love if every breath we take is an expression of love? How can we not love if every life we bring to this world has been a part of love? How can we not love if the very life we have now and the life promised to us are consequences of love?

It would be great if love were just ours for the choosing. It would be neat if love were just ours for the picking. It would be so convenient if love were just left to our own regard and consideration.

But real and true love is not like that. It will not be love at all if we are choosy, picky and finicky. Love does not just welcome a few, but accepts all. Love does not just choose a few, but embraces all. Love does not just prefer a few, but affirms, respects and forgives all. As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “There’s the rub.”

There is a deeper reason to love one another. That reason is in the word forever, which means heaven for us who believe. We have to love because love is forever. And, if love is not forever, what is forever for? As the song says, “When I fall in love, it will be forever.”

In the movie Butterflies Are Free, the superficial, scatterbrained nymphet played so well by Goldie Hawn is portrayed in the act of running away from her blind lover. She explains her flight, “…because you are blind. You’re crippled!” In the most profound moment of the movie, the young man replies, “No, I am not crippled. I am sightless but not crippled. You are crippled, because you can’t commit yourself to anyone. You can’t belong!”

Jesus wants us to love one another because He wants us to belong, to become and to be with Him forever. Real love changes people because it means commitment to love forever. A love that is forever sheds its temporary masks of insecurity and accepts the real you. A love that is forever has no games to play or roles to do. A love that is forever is ready to share, to sacrifice and to offer.

In heaven where love is forever, words we know would mean nothing. And before the God of everything, the language He would speak is the language of love.

2 May 2010

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