One word frees us from all the weight and pain of life. That word is love.Sophocles
This is the time of year to sell love. Grocery stores are stocking up a month in advance on candies and cards to fuel the annual tribute to love and romance. Expectations are high, and the pressure is on for would-be lovers to come through in the clutch with flowers, candy, jewelry and mass-produced 'personal' cards. The economic impact of Valentine's Day in this country was $14 billion last year. That's big business in anybody's book.
But the mark and measure of real love - as compared to swiping plastic for some expected gift - is not even to be uttered in the same breath as greeting cards and candy hearts. The saccharine substitution that passes for love and romance in TV ads, digital billboards and cardboard grocery displays will never be mistaken for the real thing. To know a love that goes the distance? A love that abides? That's the kind of love I honor.
And so I must disagree with the ancient Greek sage on this quote above. I believe it is primarily because of love that we experience the depths of anguish in our human experience and the often unbearable weight of grief when we face the loss of a great love. A friend once called it "the high cost of loving" when we walk that lonesome valley.
I believe there is far greater comfort and truth in the source that reminds us that we do not walk it alone, but that Christ, through the Spirit, is very present:
Ephesians 3:16-19I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Read it again if you like, for this portion of scripture is richer than a box of chocolate truffles. Each phrase can be savored....spoken slowly...rolled on the heart and mind with delight as we contemplate the unsearchable love of God who draws us close in our times of despair as well as in moments of great joy. Jesus, lover of our souls, never stops loving us nor stops helping us to love others.
Data from the National Retail Federation