I love too much.
I watched CSI last night and at one point exclaimed out loud “I love this show!” I had strawberries for dessert and thought to myself “I love these!”
I love TV shows (some, not all), funny stories, chips and queso, the color red, and cute stationary. I love scrapbooking and I LOVE my dog Ellie. I love using a 10-inch circular saw (I’ve developed a new love for power tools.) I love completing tasks and being productive. (No long walks on the beach, though.)
Notice above, I didn’t say, “I love too deeply” . . . just too much.
As I make these exclamations about what I love, I start to wonder . . . is “love” really the right word? Perhaps not.
I “love” these things because they bring me joy, pleasure, satisfaction, fun, accomplishment, etc. I love them because of how they make me feel and/or what they do for me. That is not the only, the primary, or even the most accurate definition of love.
And sometimes I think my love for these things confuses my heart as to what real love “feels” like. Do I really know what love is?
Can I really accept God’s disciplining love when I cherish taste-bud-driven-strawberry love? Can I really offer (to another, to God) a sacrificing love when I cherish cuddly-cute-puppy- dog love? Can I really commit to lifelong love (in a vocational gift of self) if I’m used to fickle-I-like-this-something-or-other-today-but-might-get-bored-tomorrow love?
I’m not suggesting we banish the use of the word love save for serious committed relationships and intimate moments. I can validly love something insofar as it is good and reflects the goodness and love of God. (Yup, I’m saying my dog is good and reflects the goodness and love of our Creator.)
But this is a caution to me (and a challenge) to allow myself to experience (and dare I say, cherish) the other less “appealing” aspects of love: discipline, sacrifice, donation, and commitment.
For despite the sometimes “unappealing” nature of these aspects, on the other side of them (when we embrace them and welcome them) is something even more appealing (more joy-filled, pleasurable and satisfying): union with God.
Today may we treasure love of all kinds, but especially the love of our God, which is given completely to each of us. God invites us to return this love in full, not just in things.