|[Photo by msabrzi on Flickr]|
On the most dreaded night of my life, the night I was driven out because I couldn't pay the rent, there's one thing I will never forget. I'd been tired of walking, so I 'd found myself sitting down there by the road-side, alone with my brown duffel bag. I still remember how this woman looked when she approached me on the cold green grassy spot which had been merely a stone's throw away from the local grocery store where I used to shop. She was a chubby middle-aged looking woman, and she'd held a toddler in one arm and a basket in the other.
"Have you eaten today?" she asked. I shook my head. Apparently, with the chaos of trying to fight to retain my studio apartment, I'd forgotten to put the last bagel I owned in my bag. It was probably still sitting on the counter top if the land-lord had not yet thrown away that good last piece of food.
This woman then handed me a warm plate of fried chicken, rice, and stew. And a bus pass for the road. I didn't know what to say, I'd never been in such a position to need food before. I'd seen several homeless people before, but who would have thought I'd be one of those? I managed to mutter a quick 'thank you,' and I watched as she sashayed away from me, not knowing she would forever be at the highlight of my memories years down the line after I'd 'made it.'
She hadn't asked me what I was doing there. Or scolded me. Or looked distastefully at me as though I was not a fellow human being. She didn't have real money to offer. She didn't have a Bible, a pamphlet, or scriptures in sight. Just a warm meal, a bus pass, and a smiling toddler. And those were exactly the very mementos I needed to stand up and get on moving with my life.
(the above is a fictional account) :)
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...to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge... (Ephesians 3:19 ESV)
There have always been (and will always be), in every generation, a slew of talkers. Yet, we need to realize that talking is not the most powerful or effective way to give true love. We can talk all we want. Or even write a thousand pages. But the hardest way to show love might actually be the only true way. How? You might ask. It's just by 'being' the very instrument the talkers have described in ages past.
It's by doing, not saying. It's by going that dreaded extra mile. To show and not just 'say.' Action! A very pivotal and impactful stroke in the life of a human being.
This is most exemplified by Christ sacrificing His life on a cross, the totality of love. The complete giving of one's self. Each of us have only one life to live. He gave His own all up. Sheer sacrifice. Will we ever consider such a sacrifice? Maybe not death, but really just giving completely of ourselves? Talking alone will never travel the distance doing can.
There have been moments where I've pursued this kind of love before, and it didn't come by writing. It came by doing. Action. Those moments have been far and few between, and I crave for more of them. There was that one moment when I talked to the guy from the middle east. Or the other one where I met a woman on a bus and because of such interest I showed in the beauty of what was her life, a place inside her heart was touched, opened, and she obtained a renewed sense of purpose. She wanted to do things again. To reunite with her daughter. To finish a book of poems she was writing, and that little act of talking to her about her life opened up a can of love and energized the bones in her body.
Or those times I have been nothing but a silent listening ear.
Or stories I've heard of friends who've comforted their friends in times of turmoil with just their presence. Yes, only their presence. They didn't need to utter a word. They were just there when trouble came. 'Just being.' Sitting on the couch, staring at their friend's face, rubbing a shoulder perhaps? Or cooking that late night meal when their friend had no appetite or reserve to cook. They were just there. This is true love. Hard, unflinching, activated love that transcends what anyone can ever say. It stands the test of time.
And it doesn't have to be about strangers, it can (and should) start with our own families & friends who will always be in our lives, lounging around with hidden hurts of their own. Right there, up in our faces.
"If I speak with human eloquence
and angelic ecstasy,
but don't love,
I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God's Word with power,
revealing all His mysteries
& making everything as plain as day,
and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "jump,"
and it jumps, but don't have love, I'm nothing.
If I give everything to the poor
and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr,
but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere.
So no matter what I say,
what I believe,
and what I do,
I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never dies.
Inspired speech will be over someday.
Praying in tongues will end.
Understanding will reach its limit.
(1 Corinthians 13, The Message)
In these last four months of the year, I want to challenge myself (and you darling readers of the Lamp) to push into real areas of love that transcends words. I want to be better at this love thing. Phone calls are not my cup of tea, but may God Himself open up doors of opportunity for me and you to showcase the love of Christ that surpasses ALL knowledge, even without speaking so much. Even knowledge bows down to this kind.
Happy 1st of September readers!!! Activate the next & greatest four months of your 2012. Be the change you want to see in the world. The race continues...God bless you richly. I'll write again soon. :)