How Should We Then Love?

When I was in high school, I read a book by the late theologian Francis Schaeffer called “How Should We Then Live”. It is a deeply philosophical book that often had me asking more questions that providing answers, which may have been some of Schaeffer’s intention. Schaeffer said, “There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind — what they are in their thought-world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity. It is true of their corporate actions, such as political decisions, and it is true of their personal lives. The results of their thought-world flow through their fingers or from their tongues into the external world. This is true of Michelangelo’s chisel, and it is true of a dictator’s sword.”

These last few days I’ve been going over the thousands of pictures that I’ve taken over the last year – a year of incredibly wonderful events and a year of deep sadness, a year of major changes and a year of seeing that some things may never change – and I’ve wondered if all the extremes that I’ve been processing in my mind would be reflected in the artistry of my photographs or in the compositions of my garden designs. And would my sieve of faith in a God who loves me more than I can understand filter out bitterness and disappointment so that kindness and thoughtfulness flow into the external world. 

I look around and in the busy-ness of living I wonder how should I then love?I look at my four sons and wonder if they realize how amazed I am at their unique talents, at their capacity for giving, at their faithfulness to their friends. Do they know that I cried the whole plane ride home yesterday after dropping #4 son off at college because they are who made “being a momma” a dream job? Does my momma know that she is my inspiration for not giving up when things get hard? Does my husband know that his work in the yard (even if he accidentally pulls up my favorite clematis) is my love language? Do my friends know that their faithful companionship is a quality that I find unfathomable?
What will love look like when it travels through the extremes of emotions and tumbles into expression?
A few weeks ago one of #3 son’s close friend was killed in a hiking accident. As I listened to the multitude of friends of David Taaffe express their memories and admiration of his life, one of the young men said that what David exemplified the most was that he loved big. Love big. The words of Christ ruminating over in David’s mind and heart during his 21 years of life had produced a wellspring of love that was big and embraced the world he encountered.
So I find myself today, as I wrestle through the seasons of life, desiring to embrace Truth in my inner mind and trusting that what will flow through my fingers and from my tongue into the external world is a life that will love big.  And that loving big will be the beauty that my heart longs to create.