More Than You Know

“The conqueror is regarded with awe; the wise man commands our respect; but it is only the benevolent man that wins our affection” William Dean Howells

A lot is made of Valentine’s Day, good and bad. Some say it is just another day. Others, out of pessimism, declare it to be a waste of time. Like Mother’s Day and Father’s day, Valentine’s Day can point to unhappy memories, or a lack of a particular kind of relationship. We are all different, naturally. Our lives and hopes and hurts and dreams and cares are unique to ourselves. One day cannot be everything to everyone.

There is one constant, however: love. As it has been said, “Love never fails”. There is a simple fact that, no matter who you are, where you are, what you think, how you feel, or even who you love, there is a love that is pointed in your direction which is so deep, so pure, so absolute, you will never be able to fully grasp it. More than you know, there is an incredible BIGNESS to this Love that is life-changing. Such a soul-filling, heart-warming, glad-making, shout-it-from-the-rooftops love can only come from someone big enough to hold it in their heart. Although it it has been said and abused many, many times, the simple phrase “God loves you” is the first and last true thing.

Not based on your talent or beauty or intellect or even your goodness, this love is for you. The funny thing is how much we can overlook the importance of this love. A person who says they love us has our full attention, even if we pretend to ignore them, not so with our Creator. He loves you, and you don’t need to pull the petals off a daisy to figure it out. Your next breath, the sunrise, the sunset, winter, spring, summer, and fall, on and on read the letters of love, from God to you. Never mind the death of Jesus on the cross. Never mind the rising from the dead on the third day. Those things give us hope. They are the basis of faith for countless people all over the world. They also have their basis in love. All God wants from you in return is for you to love him back, and to remember that love as you interact with others throughout the day.

 When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:35-40 (The Message)


Embracing Adventure

A couple of weekends ago I went on a Date with my sweet, sweet hubby, Adam. It started out by going to breakfast. It took more than 45 minutes before we were served. The food was not worth the wait. The bathrooms were I-can-hold-it-until-we-get-home dirty. There was a little girl who tried, in vain, to compete for her mom’s attention by climbing all over the booth next to us and into the one beyond that, singing in the aisles, which put her in the way of the waitresses and other customers. The whole experience wasn’t something which led me to believe that restaurant will be receiving a 5-star rating anytime soon. Still, we were fed and didn’t have to make it ourselves, and we got a break from the kids. To top it all off, we now have a funny story to tell.

From there we went to the mall, where my hubby and I took turns going to places one or both of us like. He even let me spend what I’m sure was a long time smelling lotions at Bath and Body Works, and even let me buy some, even though we’re on a fairly tight budget right now. (Let me just stop right now and say, for the sake of my hubby’s reputation as basically just plain awesome, that when I say he “let” me buy lotion, what I mean is that he didn’t give me any grief or guilt and actually encouraged me to treat myself. As a mom, you spend a lot of time doing that for others.) We went to Game Stop and we went to a store where previously Adam had found a really good deal on Gilmore Girls and bought 2 seasons I didn’t already own, because he knows how much I like them. (That’s something my oldest daughter like to do sometimes together.) We even stopped at a little kiosk and bough new covers for our phones. Nerds love their gadgets, after all, we like to care for them, like pets. I may even name mine Poppy.

And then…Adam, aka, Mr. Awesome, led me to a tea shop, called Teavana. A girl at the front of the shop was offering samples of tea, so we tried them, and then we were caught and she led us through the shop and we sampled teas of different flavors, scents, colors, temperatures. All around us were beautiful teapots and canisters of teas and lovely china, and soft lighting. It was a very girly place. I was completely enjoying myself. What a treat it was! Did I mention the fact that Mr. Awesome is 6ft 5in, likes heavy metal, has a ponytail, mustache, and goatee, and is not even remotely girly? He is also rather blunt at times and had some less than poetic descriptions of the teas we were drinking, which made me laugh and shake my head. He stayed there with me, and samples teas from tiny plastic cups, and told the girl he was “gift idea shopping”, and watched me the whole time, and enjoyed my company. He was up for an adventure and willing to move outside of his comfort zone to make someone else happy. I felt very much treasured because he wanted to see me enjoy myself and spend time with me.

I was a little hesitant when the girl fist moved toward us at the front of the tea shop. Like many others who have been to malls, I have experienced the trapped feeling that overly-zealous salespeople can instill in you, their prey. I have had my hair partially curled and straightened and spent the rest of the day looking like I had been called away from my morning preparation a little too soon. I have been swarmed by clone-like young women in a cosmetics store, all talking in unison and asking me if they could help me. I ran from those invasion of the body-snatching salespeople experiences, as I’m sure many others have.

Sometimes, I think we get so used to running from these experiences that we brush off the slightest interruption in our day, no matter where it comes from. We say no when a friend wants to chat over coffee (or tea). We don’t call our mom and dad. (Sorry Mom and Dad, I love you.) We ignore our kids when they want to show us a picture, or schoolwork, or show us how fast they can run, or spin, or dance, or how they can sing, or tell a joke about an orange, a refrigerator, and a box of matches. When we turn our attention to other things, besides our same, old boring, hum-drum routine, we take part in the adventure of life that God is continually trying to woo us into. We become enriched and more interesting, we are put in the path of people who need us. We also, many times, miss out on opportunities to grow and become better-informed and well-rounded people. So, take a chance! Order something different in a restaurant. Try a new place to eat. Pray for that person walking past you on the sidewalk (who you would normally mentally judge). Take part in the Adventure, and more than that, embrace it.