We all want to know what love is. It is the lifeblood that sustains us during times of despair and loneliness. It is the feeling that lifts our hearts when we see our beloved smile. It is the sensation that warms us when we see a mother caress her child’s face or hug them to her when they have been hurt. It is the exaltation we feel when we feel the undeniable sensation of God’s presence, the brush of the spirit so tenderly across our face, or the embrace that holds us until we can once again lift our heads to see the beauty around us everywhere.
What do I know about love? Its hard to stand here and think of myself as an authority on love. I look at my life and what stands out for me is my oversights, my lapses, my transgressions, not to mention missed opportunities, moments that I could have expressed my love more clearly, more patiently or more fully.
But I have a rare privilege that I would like to share with you. I am in the presence of genuine love every day. Love that is expressed through the actions of human beings towards other human beings.
Let me share with you the world that I am able to see:
- I have seen a homeless person give their only warm piece of clothing to someone that they viewed as more vulnerable
- I have seen a person embrace another, even when the first is grimy with dirt and rank with odor, simply to ease the pain and loneliness
- I have seen a volunteer kneel down in front of a person with frost bite to gently wash their feet with warm water,
- I have seen the unbearable tenderness with which those that we would call homeless, derelict, unreachable treat a woman when they discover that she has been raped
- I have seen the elderly protected and babies cherished
- And the mentally challenged be spoken to with respect and inclusion
- I see hundreds of people, staff, Board, volunteers and “clients” work together with the common purpose of loving , protecting, honoring, feeding and healing
So look around—look at your neighbor in the pew, look at your next door neighbor, look at your neighbor who may perhaps look quite “other” to you, due to their current situation of poverty or homelessness. See the love that sustains them, see the pain which may be hidden from you by habits of shame, and see their courageousness in the face of our daily struggles.
If you will but take the time to look, you will see that love surrounds us every day. Love sustains us . Love encourages us. Love permeates us.
Love exalts you.
Let your love shine.