Wednesday, March 05, 2008

life. love. pain.

This is a modified version of an article I wrote for the church's weekly Epistle back in January after my grandma passed away. I thought I'd share it with you all...

Life. Love. Pain. Three words that carry with them a lot of meaning. Meaning that changes over the years or through certain circumstances. Regardless of what they mean to you, these words are connected to memories and stir emotions.

Life. When I was younger, it meant getting to play anything I wanted to at any time. It has meant playing cars on the fireplace with my best friend. It has meant playing wiffle ball with the other kids on the street. More recently, it has meant playing cars and putting together puzzles with my two boys. It has also meant purposefully making time to do things with Amy.

Love. I like this word. It has been connected with Snoopy, Star Wars, and Full House. In high school, it was connected with anything from Third Day to golf. While I was dating Amy, love took on a new meaning (and became deeper). Today, my definition of love is still changing thanks to being married for 6 1/2 years and having two wonderful sons.

Pain. I don't like this word. I didn't like it when it was associated with falling down and scraping my knee. I didn't like it when it was associated with being picked last for the kickball game. I didn't like pain when it meant I was made fun of by other students. I didn't like it when it meant being far away from my family. I didn't like it when I sat at the breakfast table and got a call telling me my grandma had passed away.

Though I felt a lot of pain with my grandma's death, I know my grandpa experienced a deeper and more intense pain. I know this because I know how much he loved my grandma. They had spent their life together (65 years of marriage) and loved each other very deeply. My grandpa lost part of who he was when my grandma died. That is a pain I do not understand. But, I do understand that my grandpa would not give up the deep love to avoid the intense pain he is feeling.

This pain/love connection reminds me of another strong love which leads to intense pain: God's love for you. Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus knew the pain would come, but he chose to experience it because of his deep love for you. His love led to his pain.

Do you love others, even knowing you will be hurt? John says in 1 John 4:11, "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." Starting today, love one another. Your life will be richer because of it.

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