Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The greatest of these is LOVE

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
  If this be error and upon me proved,
  I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

OK, I'm about to English geek it up in here...consider yourself warned!

I have loved Shakespeare's 116th sonnet from the very first time I ever read it; I think I was in middle school.  It is one of the few pieces of literature, with the exception of scripture, that I have memorized, and much like reading a favorite passage of Bible, every time I read it, I get a familiar, cozy feeling.  Now I am usually not one for flowery, lovey-dovey stuff like romantic poetry, but this sonnet is an exception.  The ol' Bard really nails the essence of true love on the head here, without dressing it up with lots of frills and "gag me" over-the-top sentiments.  He's basically saying when you love someone, really love someone, you just love them.  Problems don't stop you from loving them.  You don't change the way you feel about a person you love, or stop loving them if they change, or leave, or even die.  You love them "even to the edge of doom!"  This is  why so many people stay in relationships they know are bad for them, but it's also why good marriages stay together.  Love is a crazy strong bond, a double-edged sword for sure...but that's a different topic for a different time.

I am writing because I heard the sonnet read on TV as I was cleaning the kitchen tonight, and as I listened, I thought about it in a totally different light.  Tonight I heard it as a momma.  It stuck me how the sentiments apply just as aptly to my love for my son, even though my relationship with Ethan is not at all romantic.  There is a lot about this world that I do not know, but I know this much is true: there is no limit to how much I love that crazy little man, no amount of "tempests" he can throw at me that will make me ever stop loving him.   I pray all the time that Ethan will make good decisions as he grows older, but even if (perhaps when) he doesn't, I want him to know that his place in my heart, in our family, is "an ever-fixed mark."

And as I stood at the sink thinking about my love for my child, I started to think about God's love for us, His children (my thoughts are usually one big stream-of-consciousness spaghetti platter- everything flows into everything else).  That lyric, "Oh love that will not let me go," came to mind, and I had a thought: every ounce of love I am blessed to experience on this earth, be it friendship, familial, or romantic, is just a mere reflection of God's love for me.  This morning in the Tuesday morning ladies Bible study I go to, someone mentioned that the Bible, boiled down to its simplest form, is just a great big love story- a God who gave up everything again and again for a relationship.  And I've never really thought about it that way before, but it's true.  Christ told us that our primary job as Christians is to just love people like He would.  I say "just" love them, but oh, what a task that is when you think about the way Christ loved.  That means not judging, not giving people what they "deserve," not keeping score, not holding grudges, not getting tired, never giving up...whew!  And it's not just in my own life!  On top of all that, I've been entrusted with this precious baby's heart as well, to make sure that he grows up knowing God's love for him just as much as my own.  It would be overwhelming if I thought I had to do it on my own!  Thank God I don't!

It never ceases to amaze me how completely humbling motherhood is- raising a HUMAN is a BIG STINKIN' DEAL!!  Never before has the fact that I can't do it all on my own, much less do it all right, been more apparent in my life, but it's exactly what I need right now in my walk.  I love that as I get closer to Ethan, I also get closer to God- I'm enjoying the ride!

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