Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Valentine's Day came and went rather quickly. It was a satisfying day for me as I had the night off from class and relaxed with a rather depressing movie (the previews were misleading) about the trials of a family kept at an emotional distance by the unspoken truths in their lives. In the end the story managed to teach a lesson about how sometimes love can be great, even infinite although not expressed in an explicit or clear manner.

This is hard on some people, I know. Sometimes I have to remind myself that when my dad or my sister does this, it means that. A direct communication of love is not always delivered to us in a way we are familiar and comfortable with delivering ourselves. Looking back to Chapman's "The Five Love Languages," I most identify with the language of quality time. If you have my time, my company, then you have my love. Dinner parties, a night out on the town, or a simple evening in with a movie and some food equals some of the greatest memories in my life. For my mom, gifts is an important thing and she can still recall something she received (good or bad, unfortunately) or gave and when it was given or received.

What makes me thankful for Scripture is that it seems to cover a multitude of expressions for love. There were not only the loving and encouraging words that Christ spoke to His people, His followers, and even His enemies, but there were the gifts He gave, the service He provided, the time He spent with people, and the warm embraces or power his touch had on people's lives. I myself am not adept at all of these things, admittedly. My tongue is a monster all in its own as it tends to be rife with sarcasm but then can also surprised someone with an off-the-cuff metaphor of genuine and epic proportions. I am many different things to many different people, but the core of who I am is unshakable. There is love, for not just those related to me by blood, but for those walking through life with me.

Sometimes love can drive us to do beautiful things, but it can also propel us to frustration. It was hard for Moses in his time with the Israelites to see them fall into idolatry, rebellion, and other idle practices. All he wanted to do was lead them to their destiny, their heritage, and yet the people complained, walked in selfish desire, and were oftentimes the victims of severe misfortune, hunger, and even death. They were in the midst of their walk to a land full of milk and honey, richly populated with fertile lands where their lives would be made simpler and the generations that followed them blessed beyond measure.

Moses himself was frustrated on many occasions, even getting violent and hitting things with his staff, a behavior people today would deem to be violent and threatening. But the love Moses had for his people, to me, was most evident in the fact that he continued to lead them, to walk with them. And while the people were at times his greatest heartache and detriment, they were also his commission and his purpose, his responsibility.

I have to remember Moses sometimes in my own life. I have a few people like Moses in my life that are leading me to the promised land of fulfillment, hope, peace, joy, but I know some of the people I journey with can make the journey difficult. Heck, I know I can make it difficult. One great boss I had once told me "Daniel, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem." Sometimes it is hard to point out the problem without sounding like a complainer so I have been working on assessing and solving so I can provide solution rather than situation, but I know sometimes I strike that proverbial rock out of frustration and release bitterness as a result.

I do not let these faults or moments of agonizing or stopping to stub my toe stop me, though. Just like I am sometimes the helping hand or guiding voice that assists people in their time of need, so am I grateful for when those people are the very same in my own life. Nefarious forces would like us to believe these times of feeling embarrassed or silly for being, ultimately, human are just signs of weakness, but I would like to think that these are opportunities for us to lean on God's Word and also the people He brings into our lives. The expression of love can be something ostentatious, sure, but sometimes I think love is its greatest when it takes the form of someone who is always walking alongside you to some place better, even through the swamps and mire of life.