What Love Looks Like…

Love05

Love05 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the little things, like the hours he spends cleaning the house while I am at work, or how my “sister” drops everything to listen to me on email. Love looks like a dozen little things a person does for another or the words in a greeting card sent just because. The words and actions that illustrate love cannot be substituted one for another—it must be done in conjunction with each other.

If my husband cleaned the house, but never told me he loved me it would be difficult emotionally to connect with him. If my husband only told me the words, but spent his time serving only his own needs our marriage would suffer. Friendships are the same way.

Love looks like friends who are interruptible. They hear the pleading phone call or text of a grieving friend and say, “let’s meet for coffee.” Love looks like phone calls at midnight when you have to go to work early the next morning, but you lose sleep because there’s a crisis. Love prays even when it’s sitting on a toilet seat in the bathroom the moment you get the email or phone call asking for immediate prayer. If friends only looked out for their own needs and often said only the words, the friendship would fade like a flower cut from the rest of the stalk, or crash like the buds on a tree frozen by Winter’s last blast. If friends barely communicated, but showed up for what their friend needed a friendship would be in danger of fading, but never in danger of crashing. Too many times we misunderstand the responsibilities of love.

We’re all words or we are all action. We love the scriptures that talk about love, but turn away from those who need us to exemplify it. Selfishness butts its head into the friendship or the marriage becoming an unwanted guest who only seeks to drain it. Love is work. It’s always work. Love walks and talks. It’s where we look beyond ourselves and see our choices for what they are and not how we want to see them. Some twist love to emotionally blackmail someone, or it’s quoted but never acted upon. Love doesn’t look like this; love cleans the house without being asked; prepares special meals for ordinary days; sacrifices time when one would rather be somewhere else; and love shares. It splits a donut and lets the other pick which half. That’s what love looks like, but often I see the twisted versions and wonder if people’s hearts are made of stone.

What does love look like to you?

Words From The Heart

 

“I was angry at you.” E said.

That’s what is great about our friendship. She can say that without massive repercussions. In fact, I encourage all of my friends to be honest. Perhaps it’s because in the past I’ve watched my mother get offended at every slight and felt too fearful to confront and talk to her for fear of saying the wrong thing; that’s the landmine of our former relationship. Everything exploded on contact.

And it hurt.

My husband and I have a great relationship because when I’ve done something wrong I’ll listen. If he’s done something wrong, he listens. Both of us are quick to apologize and that offense is never mentioned again. Once forgiven, it’s in the past. The same holds true in friendships.

I don’t want people to fear being honest with me. I don’t want my husband to skulk around the house afraid to set me off. I want honesty, words from the heart to wash away the dirt of the present, and begin anew. If Jesus could give us second chances, shouldn’t we bestow upon those around us that same grace?

“It’s okay to be angry at me.” I assure my friend.

You can be angry at me, too. You can tell me anything. I love you and pray for you every day. Your emails will remain confidential. Your comments encourage me. Your readership makes me think of new and fresh topics to write. It gives me pleasure to pray for you and to hear from you. Let’s throw away the darkness in our lives and cleanse our souls with His Word. The past may have broken us, but there’s beauty in brokenness. I’m thankful in that and in the honesty of true friendship.

Do you get offended when your friends get angry at you? How do you diffuse the situation?

Angry About Something Else

Gift: Favorite Cookbook, worn, old, bruised, battered, loved

My perspective on Chapter 7: Seeing Through The Glass.

Who cares about bringing the beauty in when all the inner rooms reek? It’s toast and it’s not toast and I can’t shrug it off because it’s the profanity of it, the desecrating of one made in the Image. I slam hands down on the table when I’d like to grab hold of his throat. Can I exchange the clay eyes shot red for the sacred seeing?” – Pg. 123

How many moments have I wasted on anger? Or moments when I wanted to throw the soap dish at my reflection and feel the satisfaction of breaking something? Too many. Anger became the pumping blood growing up, fueling the daily comings and goings, disguised behind cultivated smiles and fear; lots of fear. “Who cares about bringing beauty in when all the inner rooms reek?” says Ann.

“Don’t lean on the table.” She got angry. I leaned anyway, but all of my weight stayed in my legs. Only my hand rested on the repaired end of the old table. To them, it appeared as if I leaned, rebelling against their authority. I didn’t know why, then, that I did that knowing it wouldn’t matter that I said, “I’m not leaning.” I now know I was angry at everyone and everything; mostly angry at being an outsider.

““Where do you find happiness anymore?” I ache for the once-laughing child now struggling in his teens and the man-skin. He stares out the window, away, murmurs it to no one and anyone. “I think I am happy…when I am alone.” I ache toward him sitting by the window and I am mother searching child’s face and I crack…I brim…I fall…and the tears scald. Oh, son…so thirsty.” – Pg. 132

Anger makes the inner rooms reek. How many times have we gotten angry at something insignificant, but really the cause lays deep down in another place and in another unresolved time? We’re not really angry because our husband forgot to buy toilet paper. We’re not really impatient because someone didn’t jump quick enough at our orders. We’re angry at something else and taking it out on the poor dope caught in the crossfire. That person smarts from the words and those words leave marks. If I have ever done that to you, tell me at that time. Ask me, Why are you angry? And maybe you’ll find out it wasn’t you at all.

 Tell me about a time that you took out your anger on your spouse, kids, or friend when it was someone or something else that made you angry; or an unresolved hurt.

Gifting Your Heart

Coffee with Friends

Image by mikecogh via Flickr

The company of a friend makes the three miles feel effortless. Our legs are a blur. The sun is warm on our face. A hint of spring edges the air—cool and yet warm where the sun hits the concrete. Our conversations flow like the water in the creek. She’s one of my closest friends. It’s amazing that I have any friends. Grief and brokenness can brew a bitter taste in one’s soul. Distrust can take root. Those feelings can impact friendships and distance them. Tony is my best friend, but this other friend, and one or two others like her, make the miles shorter.

We love each other like sisters and take each other in stride. We’re there for the break downs, the hormonal moments, and the I-can’t-take-another-day-like-today moment. That’s why it’s important for husbands and wives to be best friends, and wives and husbands to have friendships in their own gender classes, too. It’s why we are meant as Christians to fellowship with one another. I will never forget what one good friend told me after critiquing my book: “Let your Christian family in.”

Take a risk with people. Reveal your heart. Their big muddy boot prints might mar it for a moment, but God cleans your heart up afterwards and mends what that boot broke. Without risk, friendships would cease to exist. I often wonder when I walk into service and see the walls around some of those women if they will trust God enough to let someone in? May you find the friendships that walk the miles with you even when the wind blows snow flakes into your face and the path turns rough. Good friendships are worth risking a broken heart.