It occurred to me last night that love takes on many forms. There's love for God, love for family, tough love (which I've never understood), love for friends, love for a pet, love for a hobby, love for one's country .... and then there's simply God's greatest commandment - love.
Love is a complex word. How many times have we said "love you" when we end a conversation? How many times have we said "I love that car"? Or "I really love that gift you sent"? Overused? Perhaps. Underused? Way too many times.
While Riley is overseas, I sign my emails "From Your Beloved"....and that evokes an emotion every single time. Love you for doing what you believe in doing is not only right but approved by God, love you because I know what you feel for your family and country - and love you for the man you are right now and love you for the man you'll be tomorrow.
I tell my grown children "love you" when we talk to each over the phone. That evokes an emotion every single time. Love you for being there for me. Love you for being who are you. Love you for the tough times you're going through but still keep on pressing on. Love you for exceeding expectations I never put into words. Love you for raising an exceptional child. Love you even when you are being difficult.
I tell my parents at the end of my emails to them, "hugs and kisses". Hugs - another four letter word that evokes an emotion every single time. But I don't type the word "love" near enough. Love you for being my parents. Love you for being candid. Love you for writing that you'll be there for me while Riley is away should I ever need something. Love you for being healthy. Love you for saying you're proud of Riley and proud of me. Love you for loving each other and setting the finest example in the world for what a marriage should be.
Every morning I read Proverbs. While Riley was here, we'd read Proverbs together. While we were not always on top of the morning readings, we did pretty well. Now we read Proverbs separately and email each other about what verse or verses struck us the most. We include our son and nephew - a nephew whom we consider our second son. Reading Proverbs sometimes is difficult. There's a lot of wisdom in reading this book - and a lot of love. Love can come in the form of rebuking or cautioning and sometimes is just darn right painful.
I think I understand God's greatest commandment: love. Without love, there's no hope, no future, no relationship - just an empty void. With love, there comes wisdom, understanding, warmth, peace, harmony and comfort. Love your God with all your might and all your strength...but if I have not love, I have nothing...love your neighbor as yourself....God so loved the world He gave his only son....
Love. What an amazing gift that God gave us. It has the power to heal, to comfort, to give joy ... and it's our choice to use that gift wisely or turn away from it.
I pray I always choose love no matter what the circumstance. How could I do otherwise?