Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Everybody Deserves To Be Loved

What is it about being at 30,000 + feet that makes me want to write?

Debbie and I are on the final leg of a journey that took us from our “love hovel” in the St. Louis ‘burbs to visit her dad and step-mother-in-law in the Richmond ‘burbs. We are truly “burben.” It’s been a great trip. One of the memorable ones. The weather was good three out of four days. Debbie’s step-mom is winning a battle with breast cancer. She was tired but doing well. Hey, if ever you have a right to tiredness it’s after a round of chemo therapy.

But that’s not really the point.

Somewhere along the way in the last few years I’ve begun to question “love.” I don’t doubt its existence or that I have experienced it frequently on my earthly journey. Still, I seem to have traversed a period where things in general have been ... harsh. There has been plenty of frustration. A fair amount of angry people. And over-all I’ve just seen a lot of things that I don’t really want to see. Ever. Not again. “Good” can turn “mean” in an instant. “Trusting” can turn “accusing.” Friendship can fade. What you once believed to be solid can prove itself sponge. I’ve found my motives called into question so many times that I’ve begun to question them myself. The Hand of God has been frequently visible but His voice has often been quiet. Less than a whisper. More like a memory. A very desired memory.

If you are reading this and thinking I am talking about you the odds are tremendously high that I am not. So relax. Read or don’t. My job is to write.

The point of this trip we are wrapping up is love. Hopefully it has been love in a pure form. I hope we have given it freely though it has come at a cost. Nothing is free in the world of commerce. Still, if I have learned anything over these trying episodes it is to always err on the side of love. Even if nobody believes that is what you are doing. Love anyway. Even if they attack your motivations. Love anyway. And so when weighing financial considerations against the desire to love without reservation ... indeed without “counting the cost” ... we voted on love. My in-laws are probably reading this and I wish they were not but I have to write it anyway.

Everybody deserves to feel loved. I do not know where I was sitting or what I was doing when it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I (we) needed to show them that they are a loved and cherished part of our family. They have been to my home multiple times since I have been to theirs. I am ashamed to admit that. But I do admit it. I have not done a good job of showing love. Honestly, what better time to show someone that you care deeply for them than when they are sick? What better time to break your habitual absence than when they might just be in need of a hug? There is an answer to that question. It is not rhetorical. The appropriate answer is “at every opportunity.”

When it comes to love, I fear that I have not been very opportunistic. I have no plea but guilt. No excuse but ignorance. I have made an art form out of speaking before I think, acting before I consider, and living to draw attention to the wrong thing. I have forgotten that humor can coexist with gentleness, fun with kindness, and that I most often receive when I am focused on giving.

And for the fact that it took chemo therapy to remind me of that, I do nothing but repent.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stupid Picture Chronicles #32