i wonder if i can love enough

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.

 

Seconds

I sat on the porch for just a few minutes, sun streaming through trees straining to bud so early, so early in spring.  I could barely sit still for five minutes.

I had already stormed in my head and heart at 2:25 p.m.  I stormed loudly making Jill endure me, because I was slow on the day, slow to meet deadlines, slow all week, the computer was refusing to let me do advanced things in a program, and today, these hours of time I might have purchased in the shop working on an armoire, or out biking, or working outside and breathing for the first time in a couple of weeks.  These hours.

Were evaporating.  Were evanescent reminders.  Someone is near death.  Other people accomplishing more than me in the same number of years; or less.  All of it stirring, turning inside to whisper that the time screams silently by, and it bears a new, unasked whisper, “You have not, and may not accomplish all you had hoped.”

On great days, that refrain comes and enriches my relationships with people I love, projects I have nurtured, and need to complete.  I pine for some folks, and play in my head with projects to complete them.  Today, it just churned.  It made of my soul a little foment.

It made me wonder if James, half brother of Jesus, was churning or pining when he penned, “your life is a vapor (I always think of it on a still lake) gone with the rising sun.”

Now, should I go to bed early or go out into the shop and do things to wood that I can see when I am finished?

Do I take my seconds to bed, or go serve myself a second helping of today?

 

The truth about heroes

Jill and I have been fantasy and sci fi buffs since Asimov, LeGuinn, Omni Mag and other ways to date yourself.  We are a minority.  We thought the Postman short stories and even the movie were pretty cool.

We have noticed two things about heroes, and I needed to remind myself, and possibly you, about true heroes.

We noticed that heroes are increasingly, routinely, regularly expected to come back from the dead, have superpowers, run for days without rest performing at astonishing levels of tenacity and genius, and can fire guns, kick butts, and kill villains in endlessly creative ways.  And they are all deeply flawed, marred souls with insurmountable things to overcome.

Real heroes are a little harder to spot.  They blend in with our worlds for a very simple reason: they are the substance, the substrate on which our world has been constructed.  Real heroes are consistent.  I trust that they are the same person with me as with crowds, as in private.  You see, we build our homes and our lives from consistent, lasting, sustainable materials and relationships.  They are overcomers, but do it with an ineffable grace and pinache so you don’t even see them sweat.

Heroes are all flashy as bricks and mortar, 2×6 studs, great shingles, and insulation.  They make a safe, reliable, consistent shelter from the storm, lee against the winds, warmth against the nuclear winters the world creates.

Mike was one of my heroes and he left us unexpectedly on Friday morning.  So, now I have to go tell a couple of other heroes thanks for being there, thanks for being a friend — constant — because I didn’t say that to him when I almost did on a Sunday morning week before last.  And now I will have to wait to say it to him personally.

Could be you need to tell one or two of yours thanks as well.  Even the constant ones get yanked into eternity when you least expect it.