My six year old said it best the other day. Completely out of nowhere, he declared in his loudest most outside voice ‘God is a great big HEART!’. I giggled, and peaked at his reflection in my rear view mirror, noticing the sincerity of his expression. He wasn’t laughing. To him, this was another ‘aha’ moment, which seem to be flowing in streams lately. I straightened up my own expression, and after gaining my composure, simply said, ‘that’s right! God is love, so God is a great big heart.’. His pride flickered, and he continued gazing out at the watercolor sky, mesmerized by his own random thoughts.
Love is a crazy thing though, really, and just as abstract and powerful as God himself if you think about it. Sometimes we fall in love and get our hearts broken. We fall ‘head over heels’ which is kind of how we stand up anyway, and are blinded rudely by the one person that we wrap our world around, by the one person who claims to be the very person we were meant to find. Sometimes it happens because that person wasn’t aware enough to understand their own feelings. Other times it happens because the one who we love passes on, be it expectantly or unexpectedly. And we are left to face the world, once again, alone.
I’ve given a crazy amount of thought to this particularly this weekend.
First, I discovered Thursday that my stepfather’s new girlfriend of 2 months has moved in with him, into my mother’s home, the place that was a pure extension of her vision, the very place where I had my first marriage, my college graduation party; the very place that I had helped my mom decorate & renovate just years prior. I didn’t directly find out from my stepfather, and while that was a difficult pill to swallow, I understand that the same pill would be just as difficult to administer. My mom died one year ago, and as much as I cannot understand his urgency, I can certainly not understand what he has gone through in the past year living there without her. I watched him loving her with everything he had. I watched as he cared for her, prayed over her, and cried over her with each passing phase into death. My heart broke more for him than for myself at times, but here again – love is as painful as it is joyful, or is it? The resilience of his heart gives my own heart hope in some strange way. I will never replace my mom, no more than he will replace his life. But we both must move on for the sake of love.
My other cause for reflection took place at my friend’s parent’s renewal of vows on Saturday. Dave and Jane have been happily married for fifteen years. It wasn’t long after meeting my new friend Erin, that she told me about her stepfather who was dying of Cancer. I quickly reached out to her, and eventually shared with her the story of my mom. So when Erin invited us to attend their renewal of vows, I knew I had to be there. It wasn’t until we were exiting the car to walk over to the ceremony at their home that it hit me. This may not be the easiest thing for me to watch. And it wasn’t easy, but I think it was necessary, my being there…for the sake of Erin, as well as for the sake of love. To watch her parents, her stepfather thin as a rail, and weakened by his battle, her mother glowing with admiration for this man who had made her life so much happier. Watching their love for one another, I realized that love does not die with the passing of life, just as my mom’s love did not die with the passing of her body, but rather we are all constantly transformed by love – by the love that invades and consumes our hearts, just as much as we are by the love we receive. After Dave passes, Jane will be different, just as my stepfather was after mom’s passing. My prayer is that she marches on too. For the love of love. God does not want for us to throw in the towel, because he is love himself, and he is as neverending and timeless as love itself. That’s reason enough for me to savor, accept, and march on. Part of loving after all is acceptance and appreciation.