I walked into the kitchen the other morning and this was the sight that greeted me. Now forgive me for the awful quality photo but I just felt I had to share with you how loved I felt when I saw this sight. This for me is love….
I suspect many of you reading this think I have gone a little bonkers and are wondering why a half eaten pack of ready pancakes could possibly suggest love but they do.
One of my eight year olds had a pancake or two for her breakfast before I got up and instead of leaving them open on the side to go hard, she got a bag out the drawer and covered them up. She cared enough to emulate me and to tidy away and make sure they were still good for the next person who fancied one.
That person was my son, four years older than my daughters but did he put the pack back in the bag to keep them fresh? Of course not, it didn’t even occur to him, he just left them on the side and the crumbs everywhere, confident in the knowledge that Mum would do it.
So back to the original question – what is love? Well for me love is often an action. It is something that a person chooses to do, it isn’t always a feeling. That day love was about making an effort and going out of her way to make things better for the next person. That kind of love took thought and effort and it pleased me immensely.
I’ve often wondered about love as an action, especially in marriage. You hear so often nowadays of people getting divorced because they do not ‘feel’ in love anymore and personally I think that you have to put hard work into marriage and choose to love each other. Of course there are times when you are bubbling over with love but equally I’ve found in the last twenty odd years that there are times when I do not have those feeling so much.
I recall a while back speaking to some older friends who had fostered children for years about how it must be difficult to deal with some children and how do you show them love, so they can feel secure? They assured me that if you treated them the same as your own child and you carried on as if you loved them the child would feel the love and gain the reassurance and security they needed. ou didn’t always have to actually love them, just ‘act as if’.
Then this morning at church we were again exploring the book of Ephesians and one of our pastors was talking about how God loves us and dwells in us and this got me thinking about love as an action and I realised that there are two ways to love someone. There is the all-encompassing unconditional way that God loves us and I love my children and there is also the love that we make an effort to show, the love as an action. Like making a cup of coffee for my husband even when he has been a grouch all day or helping my girls to tidy their rooms even when they have been back chatting.
So it is OK that sometimes I don’t feel an overwhelming love for everyone in my life, I can choose not to be led by my feelings and make an intentional decision to act out love.