Monday, November 6, 2017

Caregiver Chronicles: Love That's More Than Words

I sat at Sam's bedside yesterday and worried about my failure to have an emotional surge of feeling that brought tears to my eyes. I fretted that I didn't love.

This morning, I read through 1 Corinthians 13, and realized an amazing truth today. There's nothing about emotion in that description of love. Nothing. Love isn't a feeling. Love is action we choose because of a commitment we've made.

When God demonstrated His love for us, He didn't do it with words. He did it with the sacrifice of a bloody cross and an empty tomb. 

Love isn't tears or gushing feelings or pounding heartbeats. 

Love is patient, kind, and it never fails. It doesn't act unbecomingly, seek its own good, keep count of wrongs suffered, or rejoice in unrighteousness. Love  doesn't brag and isn't arrogant or easily provoked. 

Love rejoices with truth, bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. 

Love sees what needs to be done. Love comes from God, because He is love, and it directs our actions in ways that demonstrate His love to a loveless world.

Love may be accompanied by deep emotion, but love persists when there are no sweet feelings. Love continues, even when we don't "feel like it." 

Yesterday, I wanted to sit on the patio with my dogs in my lap, have a cup of tea, and enjoy being home. Instead, I chose to sit at the bedside of a dying man, read Scripture to him, sing hymns, and assure him of my love. It had nothing to do with emotion. It had everything to do with a commitment that would not fail.

Proclamations of love that are not accompanied by action don't mean much. There's an ouch to that, but it's no less true. Love isn't words alone. Actions alone aren't love, either. We can give everything we own to help the poor, but that's not necessarily love. 

Love is tangible evidence of an intangible relationship with the One who is love. 

Over the last few weeks, love has been demonstrated by an outpouring of financial help in covering Sam's time at the Hospice house, countless visits to Sam in my absence, keeping my dogs while I've been gone, feeding my horses and bunnies, mowing my lawn, bush-hogging my pastures. 

Love left a meal in my empty refrigerator just before I returned home, and a bag of snacks and groceries in Sam's room when I didn't have time to go to the grocery store for myself. 

Love has acted, and it's been too beautiful to overlook. It's been accompanied by words, but love hasn't been words alone. It never is. 

Love is a choice, an attitude, an action. 

Today, let's take a close look at the love we say we have. Does our "love" result in words alone or in tangible demonstrations of our relationship with God? Can those around us see the love of God in the way we interact? In the way we serve? If not, what needs to change?

"I'm giving you a new commandment to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." John 13:34 niv
In case you missed the most recent post, here's the link: When We're Too Busy to Be Still but Rest Isn't Optional