So I’m happy to report that using this blog as an outlet seems to be working. I’ve come across many bold statements made on Facebook that quite clearly call my name for a response. Not responding is among my greatest challenges. I have a problem, a real problem, with keeping my mouth shut. But I’m not responding. Writing this blog is almost cathartic, like that first bite of a juicy porterhouse steak. If the fact that I eat meat offends you then I’m sorry. Not that I eat meat. That you don’t.
Anyway, let me get to the meat of my rant. A few years ago my wife and I spent our wedding anniversary at a place called Cumberland Island just off the coast of a quaint little town called St. Mary’s in the great state of Georgia. If you’ve never been, this is a magical place. It is part of the U.S. National Park Service and was once owned by the Carnegie family. Today there are ruins of their mansion, a bed and breakfast, miles and miles of hiking trails, a densely populated forest, wild horses that are so close you can touch (as we saw some irresponsible teenagers do), camp sites, and a very quiet beach (perfect for Memorial Day serenity). You can only get there via a ferry that runs twice daily and the entire island has the feel of being transported to an abandoned island in the Caribbean. But I digress.
The reason I say all that is to say that it is in this place that I generally find God in the most unlikely of thoughts. It’s funny how when we create space in our hectic lives, we then have time to reflect and remember the many blessings (past, present, and promises yet unfulfilled) that have been realized in our lives. That’s a good idea for another of my tangent posts, but I digress. On one of our trips to this haven Joy and I got to talking about our marriage, love, history, and lessons learned along the way. It was in these questions that I had a thought. By that statement what I mean is that this thought may have been of my own construction, or given to me by God, who has a habit of only speaking when we’re still and quiet enough to listen. That’s why Psalms 46:10 tells us to be still and know that He is God. If we’re not still, we’ll miss him. Kind of like that hole in the wall Mexican restaurant whose burritos are life altering.
So this thought I had suddenly made me feel overwhelmed for love for my wife. That’s not to say that I don’t normally love her, but in this moment I just felt its magnitude like an enormous wave crashing over me. At this time I had known her for 15 years, been together for 8 years, and married for 4. I felt that we had a pretty solid history and relationship but the enormity of what I was currently feeling for the love of my life felt like nothing I had felt before. It occurred to me that I loved her as much as I knew how when we were dating long-distance through my time in the Marines. Then, when we got married I loved her something fierce. Here we were 4 years later and the amount of love I had for her now dwarfed how I felt back then. So the conclusion that I had/was given is that my capacity to love her expands as the length of time I love her increases. Here’s a few truths I came to from this thought that was life changing for me:
Firstly, who we are as people is not pre-determined. Think of the most evil person in the history of mankind. Most people blurt out “Hitler!”, and who knows…that might be right. Hitler wasn’t made in a factory though, and he wasn’t a wooden doll made by Geppetto. He was comprised of a series of decisions that perpetuated him on a certain path. Every decision he made only served to increase his capacity to make such decisions. The more often he chose hate over love, the greater his capacity to hate became. If we choose love on a daily basis, our capacity to love will become limitless. If we choose hate on a daily basis, our capacity to hate will become limitless. Looking back into history we all too often think to ourselves and say “Well that’s horrible; I would never be like him.” Choose wisely. Otherwise we set ourselves on the same path as one of mankind’s darkest times.
Secondly, and this is the most important one, so pay attention. When I felt the enormous amount of love suddenly crash over me it was almost like a light bulb turned on for me. If my love for Joy (that’s my wife) has increased this much in our short time together, how much more does God love me? If what he says/said is true (which I have to believe based on my own life experiences) then he has known me since long before I was born. Jeremiah 1:5 says “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” If God has been around since before any one ever conjured up the idea of Him not being around, then he has had a LONG time for his Love for me to build. And build. And build. And build. This truth now makes all other truths more potent for me. Why? Because love is a choice and He has chosen to love me infinitely more than I could ever ask or imagine, or even deserve. Now it’s time for me to make the same choice every day and love to the greatest extent I know how. We all have a choice. Choose wisely.