Thinkin' on Love...

I was going through some old files today and found this interview from a few years ago. Honestly, I don't remember doing it, which made it kid of fun to find it again. I thought it was interesting to read my own thoughts about love - like reading someone else's thoughts, but they were my own. Kinda weird and cool. Anyhow, maybe if you read it, you'll be encouraged that you are loved today. You are, BTW.

Do you believe in love? Want love? Why? I absolutely do. It’s the central theme of my worldview. I definitely want it because I think it’s what makes life worth living.

What influences have love had on your life? Negative or positive. I’m thankful that I’ve had a lot of influences in love. My parents loved me like crazy. My wife loves me, and has so much patience for me. My baby boy, who is just 6 weeks old smiled at me last week, and I knew it was because he really knew who I was. That was amazing! There are so many things regarding my faith that have influenced me in the way of love over the years. Everything comes back to this idea in my life. More than I am aware of, until now, as I type this.

When you think of someone who is a great example of someone who loves, who do you think of? Why? My parents. I’m sure 80% of all people would say that, right. There’s just something about your mom and dad! I lost my sister in a car accident in 2002, which obviously means that my parents lost thier daughter. It has been an amazing and sometimes agonizing experience to watch my parents go through losing a child. They say there is nothing like losing one of your children. I believe that now. Powerful grief is the evidence of deep love. It’s been amazing to know that my parents would do it all over again.

What would your definition of love be? How has that definition changed over the years if at all? When I was young I thought love was about feelings. If someone made me feel good that must be love, right? Now I think love is about sacrifice and selflessness. I think it’s about giving my life up so that other people can live the life they are supposed to live. Things have definitely changed! I like it better this way.

Do you think there are different types of love? Sure, I Iove my wife and child in a totally different way than I love my friends, or my next-door neighbor. Still, I want to love them all in a way that’s appropriate to that relationship.

What is the greatest act of love you have witnessed/ heard of/ experienced? Things that are really sacrificial get to me. I think the ultimate image of love is Jesus on the cross. I’ll say more about that a bit later, but that always gets to me. I mean, whether you believe in his divinity or not, the motive of his death is still documented and true. He was crucified believing he was giving his life for the sake of humanity. That's unbelievable. The bible teaches, “the greatest kind of love is someone who would lay down his life for his friends.” Every now and then you hear about someone doing something selfless when someone else is in great need. I love that stuff. Can’t get enough of it. I think it's the echo of something bigger than anything we know on earth.

What have you learned about love? I’ve learned that I run out of gas in love unless I remember that I am loved myself. The lesson would be: Love is first about knowing that you are accepted and prized by someone greater than yourself, and then from that source of love you have more to give.

Who do you “love”? How does that affect the way you treat them? I lead a faith community here in KC called the Gathering Network. We live life together around 3 values that we call the “3 Loves”. Basically, it’s love lived out in three directions. To love God, Love Each Other, and Love the World. The bible teaches me to “Love God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind”. I think this means that God is worth all that I am, and all that I have, I believe that anyhow, and that’s how I try to relate to him. Love Each Other: My friends and I try to make our love for God real by the way we love and honor one another. I think of my life as different sets of communities. My marriage and my family would be one. My friends would be another. My church community would be one. Everyone outside of those would be one. I try to be faithful in all of those places. In fact, I really believe that it’s in those communities that love is made real. It’s really easy to believe in loving someone, but it’s not until somebody really makes you mad, or gets in your business, that love has a real opportunity to shine. If we can make it through that stuff, then we are really doing it. Love the World: We also live by a creed at the Gathering Network, to “Share Jesus Generously and Always”. That means that we will share all that we have experienced in following Jesus with anyone who needs it, anywhere, at anytime. We aren’t trying to preach to anyone, we are just willing to encourage people who are down, or pray with people who need a miracle, or provide for people who have a need along the way. I guess we are wanting to make love real and practical to those around us.

If you could paint a picture of what love looked like what would you paint? When I think about people who have personified love, I can’t help but think of Jesus. I think we all do at some level, and I mean the historical man, Jesus. All of the great people of history that we respect and admire seemed to get their ideas from him. Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, they all said they got their stuff from him, at least in part. That’s some pretty heavy influence. I’m obviously a believer, but even if I wasn’t I still think I would be blown away by a man who would die the way he did, believing that his death would make peace between God and his friends. I’ve never had anyone die for me before except for him. Jesus’ entire life is an amazing story of love.

Have you ever experienced a “false” love? How was it different? Sure, I’ve had relationships with people who haven’t come through. Another way of saying it would be that they over promised and under delivered, I guess. All of my friends who are a little older have had this experience. It’s not fun at all. My first taste of it was when my first girlfriend broke up with me on my birthday when I was 15. I cried for 3 weeks and nearly failed my Spanish class that semester. It was rough, and it was a perfect adolescent love story. I went on to have my heart broken a few more times, and to break some hearts myself (which are some of the worst memories I have of life). It's amazing, however, how everyone survied and we all went on to find people who were truly right for us in marriage. I have had a few hard things happen with friends, but it still somehow feels like it was all worth it in some crazy way. I eventually got over my broken hearted seasons, and I learned a lot about myself through it all. Mostly I’ve learned never to give up hope. I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness. I’ve learned that people hurt people sometimes, even when they don’t want to. All of those relationships, with friends and my teenage/college girlfriends, taught me how to love in a more selfless way. I’m still REALLY bad at that, but I am happily married today, and I’m dedicated to doing what it takes to make my marriage not only work, but thrive. I think that can happen because my wife and I are totally into loving each other in a way that honors each other, hopes the best for each other, and serves each other. I learned how to get there along the way.

I’ve never been betrayed, at least not in any way that I can remember right now. My friend Maggie was betrayed by a man she dated for over 2 years. She was sure they were going to get married, only to find out that he was already married to someone else, and had been for quite some time. She had fallen for a master of deception, and that kind of deception is evil to the core. It’s honestly fueled by something bigger than him. How else could someone pull off something like that? It happens every day when people abuse innocent people. It’s the worst kind of evil - the antithesis of love. How she got to a place where she eventually forgave him (even though they obviously aren’t friends/or together anymore) and how she arrived in a place where she wants to be married again…I’ll never know. I believe it has something to do with the fact that someone bigger, I think God himself, is loving her and helping her believe that Love is real and worth it.