Monday, October 1, 2012

What Love Is

Sometimes, I forget to love God.

Life gets crazy and I don't know.  It's easy to start out loving God, then He puts these other energies of love in your heart, and before you know it, you're doing what looks like love but has become more like duty and all of a sudden, you look around one day and wonder where God is and if you've even been loving Him at all.

The past few weeks of my life have been that kind of crazy.  These have been the kind of weeks where there has been a lot of love to do.  You know.  With skin on.

At first, I really love times like these.  Because I wake up unscheduled, ready to tackle the day as it comes.  Ready to respond as is necessary to the world around me, in order that I might show love.  Which, at the time, I feel filled to overflowing with and ready to pour out.  It's such a cool time because everything feels like an adventure.  I love that about love.

As time drags on, though, I get sucked in.  I love love.  I love loving.  So I start going to bed every night thinking about the day's love and what tomorrow's might look like, and I wake up in the mornings thinking about how to weave love in.  Suddenly, I've got this mental to-love list that looks more like a to-do list, and there's not a lot of time for that adventure of love anymore because everything seems unexpectedly scheduled.  There's no time for the moment.

And that's what love really is.  Love is a moment.  It's this timeless suspension of eternity that dangles just long enough for us to touch it.  It is a place where time doesn't matter and there always seems to be enough of it.  Time, that is.  Love is that thing that pops up and takes you somewhere you don't think you'd choose to go for an amount of time you don't think you have to an opportunity you don't think you're suited for and you discover that even if you aren't, the moment is exceptionally perfect and it's beautiful.  

I get trapped in that.  I really do.  I love that moment so much that I want it.  I want it every day.  Every second.  Every moment until I don't even notice time is passing at all because it's all love.  But I try too hard and what I end up with isn't love.

Then I don't have time for what love really is.  And what love really is - that moment that love is - comes to seem not like love at all but like whimsy or foolishness or sometimes, selfishness.

This is compounded in a span like these few weeks have been where life and circumstance have taken me away from the place where I'd normally come back to love - Sunday morning.  Now, I could get into details, but I'm finding life is greater when not all of the details matter.  Because they don't, really, and I shouldn't try to make them.  But the past two Sundays, I have been unable to be with my church family.  Unable to be in worship.  Two Sundays ago, I could not go; yesterday, I walked out early.

My to-love list was weighing on me, as well as more than a good share of restlessness that is both rooted in and an aggravation to times like these.

There are always a lot of voices in my head when I'm not at church.  Voices mostly of those who don't know what it means to be a Christian and who might see me on a Sunday morning when they wouldn't expect to, then ask: why aren't you at church?  Or: don't you go to church any more?

It got in my heart a little yesterday.  Ok.  A lot.  Why aren't I at church?  The excuses didn't seem good enough; they probably weren't.  What I settled on was this restlessness.  This complete inability I had to sit still, to engage with what was happening in worship.  To even think about my God.  I realized it was my own distortion of things like love and God and faith over some busy weeks, compounded by circumstance that kept me apart.  So I asked myself:

Do I love Him?

Because I know there are people who get cut off and distracted and blocked and taken away like these past few weeks have seemed to do to me and then they decided they can do without God, and it's hard to get them back.  Life steps in and separates us and even love is a burden (because it has become a duty instead of a moment) and I get it - it's easy to throw your hands in the air and decide no.  No, I don't love God any more.

Thankfully, that's not the case with me.  At least, not yesterday.  And not today.  And not any time I can remember or foresee.  There's something about my God I could never shake free from, and the more life creeps in and corrupts love and drags me away from something so simple as Sunday service...the more I absolutely thirst for my God.  The more I can't get Him out of my head.  The more I get the same worship songs playing on repeat in my mind.  The more I start looking for some quiet time, some place to get away.  The more I start praying when I don't realize I'm praying.  The more I start looking for what love is.

And the more I realize all that stuff that seemed so foolish and whimsical and selfish and wasteful...that was love all along.  Of course, I remember that it was.  I remember that's where it started, where I got lost in love in the first place.  Because I love that about love...and so deep into it, I too easily forget that that's what I love about it.  How blessed I am that in all the ache, the circumstance, the distraction, and the distortion, Love Himself draws me back to love so that I can remember...

in a moment...

what Love is.

The moment.

Life is spiritual.  Your physical existence doesn't contribute to that life.  The words that I have spoken to you are spiritual.  They are life.  - John 6:63

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