July 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’ve been struggling recently (well, I say recently – it’s been an ongoing battle for a long time) with dreams. Not visions for the future type dreams, but more, plague-me-every-night-and-leave-me-feeling-weird type dreams. And to make it tougher, my husband is sleeping badly because I spend so much time thrashing around and sleep talking and grinding my teeth, etc etc etc. A little too personal? I’m not sure. I’m still getting a feel for this blogging thing. Anyway, as a result, last night JVN suggested listening to a nice story before we went to sleep. We ended up listening to a kids story (from the Adventures in Odyssey series) about a girl called Robin who is learning all about the biblical definition of love – particularly the 1 Corinthians 13 type – from her kind old friend Mr Whittaker. She asks him early on in the story what ‘agape’ means and he tells her to go and look it up. Meanwhile, Robin is working on a science project with a boy in her class called Oscar who, much to her annoyance, gets things wrong a lot. She eventually explodes when, due to his not reading the controls properly, Oscar blows up their home-made volcano (ruining their science fair presentation.) After Oscar leaves the room in distress, Mr Whittaker reprimands Robin and tells her that poor Oscar is dyslexic – which is why he has been making so many mistakes. Upon hearing this, Robin is devastated about yelling at Oscar and says she will love him better from now on; going above and beyond the small things she has done for him so far.
But Mr Whittaker does not leave it there, and asks her to tell him what she has learnt about the word ‘agape’. Well, it means ‘unconditional love’, she tells him proudly. ‘Okay, and now you have decided to love Oscar because he has dyslexia – but before, when he was just not as clever as you, you had no love for him. Is that unconditional?’ Robin is challenged, and as Mr Whittaker reads out the qualities of true love she is left reconsidering how well she loves the people around her.
A simple story, no doubt. But one that left me – as I drifted off to sleep – pondering my own definition of love, and how often it falls short of the holy one. Ignoring for a moment the people around me who I do not know, and those I know only a little… when I think about my close friends and family – those who it is easy to love (or so I think) – I find myself almost abashed at how poorly I do in fact love them. I am quick – so quick it is a little scary – to judge them, to find fault in them, to notice their absences far more than their faithfulness. I carry a self-righteous annoyance; one that is too quick to jump into action if I feel wronged in any way. I have mental rants in my mind when I feel upset or let down. I, of course, see their mistakes more than my own.
Oh, how I long to give more, rather than take. To reach out, rather than pull back. To forgive rather than store up. To believe rather than doubt. To persevere rather than give up. To assume the best and not the worst. To be a friend worthy of the beautiful companions I have been granted.
LOVE: PATIENT, KIND, DOES NOT ENVY OR BOAST, IS NOT ARROGANT OR RUDE, DOES NOT INSIST ON ITS OWN WAY, NOT IRRITABLE OR RESENTFUL, DOES NOT REJOICE AT WRONGDOING, REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH, BEARS ALL THINGS, BELIEVES ALL THINGS, HOPES ALL THINGS, ENDURES ALL THINGS.