I spent the other night watching one of my favorite Christmas movies, “Love Actually”. If you haven’t seen the Richard Curtis romance, I highly recommend it. That, along with other things going on, really got me thinking about the nature of love. What is it? Why is it so hard and yet so easy? Why does it bring us so much joy but so much pain when we don’t feel it?
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.
Those words, spoken at the beginning of the movie by actor Hugh Grant, are the truest I’ve seen on the topic. Part of the reason I haven’t been blogging so much lately has to do with this very topic. I’ve been trying to see the love around me in various ways. This is what I found:
Nothing says love like my nine-year old nephew watching The Polar Express on Thanksgiving. At the end of the movie, during the closing song, he didn’t want anyone to talk to him. He was listening to his favorite Christmas song. He closed his eyes and just smiled. I didn’t ask him what he was thinking but I imagine he was thinking about the joy of Christmas and what it means to him.
Love is seeing people smiling more this time of year. I was just in the grocery store and Christmas music was playing. I saw lots of people just singing, without a care in the world. They were happy!
It is watching someone I care about make some very difficult decisions with their life. While the outcome was not what I expected, they made their choice out of love. There are moments that change our lives and if you lead with love it can change your world.
Love can be laughter. I chose to spread humor on social media instead of controversial blog posts. I just wanted to see people laugh and have fun. It worked! For over a week straight, I wrote nothing on here until earlier tonight. And it felt great!
Love is the video my niece made of our family at Thanksgiving. The laughter, the work getting everything together, the joking around, and the companionship.
It is letting things go when you really don’t want to but you know it is the best decision you can make for yourself. There is a calm that comes after that is best described as peaceful. You might still be sad but you know your mind is made up and it was the only choice you could make.
Love is talking to loved ones in Heaven, not only during the tough times, but the good times as well. It is the tear on a rainy day or a smile on a starry evening. It is the utter belief that they are watching over you and protecting you and shining love on you.
It is making tough choices for our children even though we know those aren’t the decisions they want. It is teaching them and guiding them to look beyond themselves and think of the people around them.
It is attending a new church and watching people believe with every fiber of their being and wanting to share that with others. It is celebrating God in all His glory and knowing, no matter what you do, He loves you.
It is taking that love and working at it, every single day. It takes making it work. It takes forgiveness and hope and faith.
Love is watching the stillness in the morning sky. It is feeling the wind against your faces as the waves come crashing on the beach. It is the music blasting from your voice on a long drive without a care in the world. It is climbing up a mountain and seeing the world below you. It is the gut-wrenching pain when you have to give up something. It is the tears we shed when someone close to us leaves this world. It is learning to love yourself first before you can give it to others. It is what you choose to give. It is all this and so much more.
“I’m gonna be grateful every day
Make a little way, then we’ll ride it
I’m gonna keep shaking off the shame
Make a little way and we’ll shine it, shine it
Shine it on” -Grateful, Better Than Ezra
It isn’t an easy thing, this crazy little thing called love. Sometimes it can be really tough. It’s how you handle it that matters in the end.