Friday, February 03, 2012

What does Love looks like?

(Image from 123RF)

When I was young, I used to think my Mom would be a great nurse. She had all the details of how to make me feel better when I was sick perfected. Her checklist of care looked something like this:

1. Notice, without the aid of a thermometer that I felt under the weather.
2. Determine, with the aid of a thermometer, how high my fever was.
3. Head to the pantry a return in a matter of moments with a tall glass of Ginger-ale accompanied with crushed ice and a striped straw. Give me Tylenol to take with the drink.
4. If my fever was quite high, she's get cotton and rubbing alcohol and rub down my arms and legs.
5. If my throat were sore, she'd get Vicks and rub my chest and throat down and wrap my neck with one of my Dad's long socks.
6. If I was restless and could not sleep, she's read out loud to me until I dozed off.

One winter, I was so sick with strep throat my mom read the entire book of Charlotte's Web to me. The medicine I had been given by the doctor tasted so terrible that it kept making me sick. My Mom was so thorough that she took a spoonful of the medicine herself - sputtered, grimaced and spat it out and promptly called the Doctor for an alternate option for me to take. My Mom was a great nurse.

In about a week, it will be time to celebrate Valentines Day. It's a day that many people express their love with flowers, candy and heart shaped cards. Valentine's Day is a wonderful reminder to express love, but sometimes I think it can become tied up in making a big impression by giving material things. The act of giving love, in material gifts or means of action, should not be limited to one day a year. Love is something that energizes and encourages people in the everyday actions of caring for each other - just like my Mom did.

In the scripture below, Jesus is active in the everyday caring and healing of people that were sick. Jesus was active in the work and he included his followers in the daily practical work of caring for the sick and hurting.

Caring for people can be difficult work. It means, at times setting personal goals and desires aside so that others needs can be attended to first. It also might mean tasting some really bad medicine!

I don't see candy boxes when I think about what love looks like. In light of this scripture and my own experience of being cared for by my Mom, my perspective on love's appearance has changed. I see my Mom's face, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, a glass of Ginger ale with crushed ice, thermometer, Vicks chest rub, and the copy of "Charlotte's Web" that she read to me.

The image of love is always changing. Love can mean many things to many people - but this Valentine's week and beyond I hope I can grasp and try to live into a humble everyday kind of love - like Jesus and my Mom.

What does love look like to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Mark 1:29-39 The Message (MSG)
29-31Directly on leaving the meeting place, they came to Simon and Andrew's house, accompanied by James and John. Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them.

32-34That evening, after the sun was down, they brought sick and evil-afflicted people to him, the whole city lined up at his door! He cured their sick bodies and tormented spirits. Because the demons knew his true identity, he didn't let them say a word.