11 Feb Love, Give Love
I am not sure exactly when February became the national month to celebrate love but I know that when I was a little girl in parochial school in New Jersey, Valentine’s day on Februaury 14th was a really big deal!
The holiday celebrating love for me was full of innocence and candy especially candy!!
My mom and I picked out popular valentine’s day cards and treats to bring to my whole class. Some years the cards were homemade but in other years they could be popular characters from TV shows or children’s cartoons at that time. Those were the kind that you could buy in the store and I liked those the best.
It was so exciting to go to Woolworth’s or the supermarket in town to pick out my box of cards. I would linger over the small selections forever.
There was usually Batman, Wonderwoman, Sesame Street, Bugs Bunny, The Jetsons, Road Runner, Lost in Space and Lassie. And we would always get a big bag of lollipops, or candy bars to tape inside the cards for each child in my class.
Sister Ann David, my teacher had a rule for all the third graders at that time. Everyone gets a card and a sweet or no one gets one at all!
I didn’t always like everyone in my class but the objective was never to play favorites.
It was a day when parents would bring in heart-shaped cupcakes and cookies to share. And we would set aside a portion of the afternoon to take turns giving to everyone in the class. Everyone was included and everyone was happy. That was my introduction to valentine’s day and the simple celebration of love.
These days love has gotten so much more complicated and complex. It means so many conflicting things to so many people. All depending on who you ask.
But at its core love is a verb. As you give it, you receive it. It’s an exchange like we did in the 3rd grade class at St. James Parochial School. No one was exempt. We all gave and we all received.
We can spend a lot of time in our lives searching for the illusive feeling of love, and it’s reciprocal, but what you want in life you must first give.
Sometimes we try to be what we want (love-able) instead of giving what we want. But “As you sow so shall you reap.”
While romance and the stuff of fairytails called Eros can be wonderful, love is so much more than just that one definition. There is Storge which is having an empathic bond with another person. And Philos which is the gift of true friendship. And Agape love which is unconditional love. And that is what God has for us. The bible says that “God is Love” plain and simple, and that is our greatest example. Through the giving of his son, he gave us the greatest example for ourselves. Love is a verb. Love gives!
So just how do we give love one to another?
We become to others what we need ourselves. There is a scripture that tells us “that if you want to have friends than you must first show yourself friendly.”
Someone you know may need to experience Philos love. We all know what it’s like to be lonely and in need of someone to talk to or fellowship with from time to time. Friends make the trials and journeys of life that much lighter. Be a friend to someone who really needs friendship. Or mentor someone whom you can see is in need of direction. God will always place someone in your path that needs to be loved in this way.
Someone else may need a Storge type of love; someone who you can have sincere empathy for what they may be facing in their lives at that moment. Reach out to this person in sincerity. You will receive so much more than you will give.
Or they may need an Agape type of love, which is unconditional. It is like the love of God. This kind of love extends itself into the deep recesses of our soul. This may involve a spouse, or a child or a family member that may need forgiveness or extended grace in light of their circumstances or present behavior. This kind of love is challenging and difficult at times but so necessary for us all to experience at some time or season in our lives.
And as you give so shall you receive could never be more applicable than in this example; as we have all needed grace and unconditional love at some time or another. And if you haven’t, than keep living because you will.
None of us are infallible.
Agape love is never a pass but merely an opportunity to allow someone the grace to see themselves through mistakes and failures. That’s what God does for us.
Love is a verb and it is also an opportunity for us. Its an exchange.
Let’s be to someone else what we would wish for ourselves. Let’s choose to love today, God’s way!