Tonight I went to a movie. It was a foreign film about a man who was dead (not literally) and then something came alive inside of him and as he came alive and lived, he set another man free. At the end of the movie there was this one dead man, alive and alone. His consolation for living and loving was to be alone.
I drove home from the theatre contemplating the movie and its effect on me. As I drove I watched the people in the neighborhood gather together. It’s a neighborhood where people go to find community. It is a neighborhood where people go to belong. A sort of forced belonging. Somehow many individuals got tired of feeling out of place or quite frankly in many instances displaced that the individuals gathered together with others and formed a community where they could be a they rather than a him or a her.
My heart was heavy and broken over the stories of friends who have felt displaced at one point or another in life. My heart broke over the condition of our world where people walk around wondering if they’ll ever really be loved, for being, rather than for being something else.
I became overwhelmed with grief. Pictures of people ran through my mind. Students and friends who I love so dearly and who are living to find that place where they’ll no longer be alone.
I then got a picture of Jesus and an overwhelming feeling that he must have been a very lonely man. He knew love. He embodied love. We don’t have the faintest idea of what love is. Okay… we do at some level, but we sure don’t like to operate out of it.
Anyway… I suddenly knew grief.
Somehow in all of these random and disconnected stories, thoughts and memories I was struck. This world is dying for love, for intimacy, for belonging and Jesus was lonely because He has it and gave it and watched loved one after loved one after loved one turn away from this great and beautiful and pure love. Oh my goodness… when we’re told that greater love has no one than he who lays down his life for his friend, we just gloss it over and make it about the act of dying for someone. What about loving someone?
Love is powerful, dangerous, messy, and destructive. It is so powerful that it can change a person. It is dangerous because it opens the deeps trenches of our souls. It is messy because it is pure and pure authenticity drives a person through their mess. It is destructive because it tears down the walls of protection to get to our core and find us in our naked state and stays put. Love destroys the imaginary safety and comfort of a make believe freedom and replaces it with the real thing.
Love, is a great calling. What if we loved like Jesus? I mean really loved like Jesus…
I think we’re so afraid to be loved that the thought of actually loving seems impossible. Maybe it’s that we’ve tried to love and people rejected it. That is so painful. It is painful to offer love to a person and have them walk away from it.
Jesus lived with that pain. He grieved over people choosing a make believe truth instead of the true freedom which He alone had to offer. He grieved. He cried. He had to do something about it. He did.
I was given a picture of the grief of Jesus tonight. My heart ached. It ached in a way that made me fearful actually. I was afraid of the love inside of me. I yelled out to God, “please, please don’t make me love people so that I hurt every time someone turns from truth or walks away from you. Please don’t make me like the man in the movie who helped others find freedom, but he ended up in the pain of loneliness. Please don’t make me love so much that it hurts. Please don’t ever let me loose this feeling. Please don’t ever let me go back to a superficial love. Please don’t let me be a do gooder without love. Please don’t let me loose this….”
My cry turned from a fearful and overwhelming place to a place that knows that I have to do something with what I’ve been given. I have to. I want so badly for the world to know the great, powerful and life changing love I’ve experienced. I grieve when people choose otherwise. Why? Do I just want people to have a similar belief system? Not by any stretch of the imagination. A belief system will get you nowhere fast. But what if the love that I feel, that led me to know that I am valuable, that I have such great worth, that I hold the glory of God, that I am beautiful…. What if that love was there for the taking and I could just pass it on. What if? Really and truly, what if?
Love can change things. Love is enough. Not the kind of love that you speak of when you say you love pizza or meatloaf. But the kind of love that scares you because you’re naked and unashamed. The kind of love that sees straight through the hurt and sees the person inside who is just waiting to be freed. The kind of love that cries freedom. The kind of love that transforms. The kind of love that calls out truth. The kind of love that sees you just as you are and calls out your glory so that you can be made new. The kind of love that is contagious and makes people nervous. The kind of love that motivates a person to action. The kind of love that is so disturbing that you have to do something with it. The kind of love that makes you realize you’re not okay with out it. The kind of love that truly reveals your deepest need and says take me and I’ll fill that craving. OH my goodness… love is so much more than the heart on a t-shirt, the passing closing to a friend, or the way you end a conversation with your mom. LOVE real love is the most powerful force in the universe and it can cause a person to celebrate one person’s return from death to life. It can cause grief that is so deep when one sees the pain of another. It can cause a chain of events to unravel that will change the course of the world.
Love, real love… true love…. Like the love in a Princess Bride where true love could bring a person back from death… does really exist and it does bring life to dead places.
There is a great awakening in my spirit. There is a passion so big inside of me that I can’t keep silent. We do not love, because we do not know love. We go around being gracious to people, doing kind acts and being overall nice people and think we’re loving… perhaps we are.
But I know that to really truly love…. One has to know love. If one doesn’t know how to receive love, or is able to look at his/her self and say I am worth loving just as I am… then how can they really love another.
Oh that people would know that they’re loveable. Oh that people would see in the mirror the glorious creation they are. OH that the hearts of the world would break for people to experience the powerful, dangerous, life changing, love of Jesus. It is huge! It is scary. It is so big that every word picture that comes to mind seems to pale in comparison to the depth and height and width and length of the love of God for his people… for all people.
So here I type feverishly trying to capture in some way all that is going on inside of my breaking, grieving, hopeful, amazed, humbled, astonished and believing heart. I am trying to capture the essence of the moment so that maybe I can in some way spark a change in someone else. So that maybe someone else will go to bed knowing they’re loved by God… someone else will know the power of true love.
Maybe it is for me to remember that I’m loved with a love that destroyed the very lies and image of myself that I bought at an early age.
Maybe it is for me to know that I have a role to play in this world.
Maybe I’m feverishly writing with the hope that one person will read this, realize that they’ve said no to the truth and freedom of self that comes from allowing Jesus, who is feverishly in love with them, to love freely on them and destroy their perfectly fabricated world. And they will say no – no more
Maybe I just am passionate, because I know the hurt that comes from believing I’m not worth loving.
Maybe it’s because I felt the grief of watching someone love and be turned down.
Maybe it’s because I felt the grief of loving many persons and wanting things for them so badly and I’ve had to watch them time and time again believe something less than true, each time devastating my heart…. Because I love.
Maybe I write to remember.
Maybe I write because deep inside of me I know that what I’m writing is true. That when we sit alone with our thoughts and they go anywhere besides to the fact that we are the image of God in human form, with his glory fingerprinted on our very nature, with his love branded on our hearts… we’ve bought the lie of the one who seeks to kill, steal and destroy love. Who is the antithesis of love.
Maybe I write cause I have no other choice.
There is something inside of me so passionate that it hurts.
It’s bigger than valentines day.
It’s more powerful than a weapon of mass destruction.
It is more beautiful than a work of art.
It is at the core the very nature of God.
Who made us in his image and because of that… we have no choice but to be drawn to love
Oh Lord, help me know love. Help me to always love more. Help me to never forget today and the grief that accompanies love and the joy that accompanies love. May those two experiences compel me to love the world, to love the stranger, to love my friend, to love my family, to never stop encouraging people to love.
I could keep going. I could write about this for the rest of my life and all of the words I could use would not be able to adequately describe how very much I want the world to know, the individual to know, every man, woman and child to know that they are loved. And I want them, with passion, to accept it, and to say I’m worth loving and to be new because of it. May the grief I feel for those who choose not love be a vapor, because they’ve decided to fall into the love before them.
I don’t know if I’ve made any sense. I just know that my heart is about to burst. My life will be different from this point on. My message will be different. My ideals and my lifestyle and my mourning and my rejoicing and my truth and my fiction and my every breath will forever be changed….
Because of one word, I like to call love.
May you come to know it’s meaning, its author and its namesake.
Go therefore and love the world… lay down your life, your selfish desires, your unkind words, your hateful thoughts, your impatience, your disbelief, you indifference, your lies, your harm, your negativity, your pessimism, your own rights and love
Why? Because you’re worth it.
Why? Because you were first loved. You’re the very display of God’s glory. You’re capable of loving.
Go… change the world
You can you know….
Because Love changes