When I met and married Jill, I was in professional ministry: stuff we can now do for free. As a seminary trained minister, I allowed me to think I was, what? More spiritual? A little better? I am not sure.
It evidenced often. Here’s a way. Jill loved horses and Colorado. Loves. And I wondered subconsciously if maybe she loved them more than Jesus, or God.
When we married, I knew for a while that I loved Jill more than anything, but I “corrected” that by relearning to love Jesus first. Again, I got paid to believe like that.
I spent another thirty years with Jill. I resigned from church work, and I now play at being honest. I say “play” because honesty without love or grace is an all-consuming monster. Brave souls have faced it and been ground to dust. Many write novels to journal it.
In my honesty I found nothing affects me like a horse or mountains move Jill. Okay, I weep at some books or movies, but it’s different: not as structural, as fundamental as is Jill’s love for horses like Firefrost or Dartagnan; or the Princeton Valley, Chalk Cliffs, and skiing the Rockies.
I ride bikes. Clear land. Work in wood. Ski. Write. Travel some, and nothing grabs me like being on a horse on a snowy day grabs, sustains, heightens, infuses Jill’s day with light and hope.
Which caused me to go back and hear John, whom I translated from Greek: [1 John 4:20] “For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
Jill loves her brothers and sisters, and we see them more than mine. Jill loves our grand-kids, and goes to lengths to babysit them more than me. Jill also walks our land and draws strength up out of the ground through her boots — when I see all that needs to be done. Jill also loves Lewis and MacDonald as if they were fiances she lost in the war.
And John shattered my thinking. Jill has been passionately crazy about people and things God has crafted for her and handed her — far more than anyone I know.
So God, by way of John, is using Jill, not my measuring stick, to show me: Loving who and what has been evidenced to me by God, is the first step in really learning to love the One who created them as evidence of His love to — me.
This may be a great year to learn to love more.