Recently I was tempted to settle for less than what’s best.
In the days before I welcomed my husband home for a mid-tour break from his current deployment, I consciously curbed my enthusiasm by focusing on the temporary nature of his visit.
Even though I haven’t laid eyes on his sweet face undistorted by video chat, kissed his lips, or nestled up against his shoulder inover five months, there was a part of me fighting the urge to surrender completely to the joy of spending time with him. I was hoping to protect this sliver of my spirit from the inevitable pain awaiting when we return him to the departure terminal.
It feels safer to hold this part of me in reserve, to rope it off and declare it out of bounds to the onslaught of feelings that accompany brief reunions book-ended by long separations.
But then the sudden death of a dear woman who made everyone she encountered feel loved rocked me to my core.
I realized that by shutting those places up to safeguard myself from the pain to come deprives me of the joy that could be. It prohibits me from giving myself fully to my husband. It steals from me the moments that could sustain me through the hard days to come.
Unless I’m all in, I’m missing out.
And so is he.
We’ve endured too many days apart to take a single minute together for granted.
Pain, death, trials, separations, and sorrows are guaranteed while living in this broken and sinful world, but we cannot let them steal the joy that is available to us right now. Every moment is an opportunity to love those around us. They deserve it and so do we.
None of us can know what the next day will bring. Approaching, today by safeguarding myself from tomorrow leads to cautious decisions. But that might not be the most loving option. The unknown hour of death can encourage us to love with reckless abandon. If this was my last chance to show him how much I love him, how would I want to remember it? How would I want him to recall our time?
Loving while trying to protect myself is not the kind of love God intends for us to give one another. While I may never be called upon to actually give up my life for anyone, I can die to the part of my self that seeks preservation from painful emotions. Jesus modeled this self-sacrificing love for us. He loved others even knowing the consequences would be catastrophic.
Sincere love is not limited by self-preservation.
I want to let the flesh of my heart soften even if that makes it necessary to regrow the calluses that protect me when he departs again.
I want to soak in his presence, even if that makes his absence more painful.
I want to foster intimacy even if distance will strip it away once more.
I want to lean on his support even if it means having to regain my balance again.
I want to love with reckless abandon even if it turns my world upside down in a couple of weeks.
It would be selfish of me to approach this time with anything other than untamed adoration for my husband.
After all, I promised to love him for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health until death.
Is there anybody in your life you need to love with reckless abandon? Won’t you join me in making the most of every opportunity to offer untamed adoration?
Dear Father, Help me to love my husband no matter what the cost may be at the end of this visit. Inspire me to love others as You love me – with reckless abandon. Let me see Jesus as my example to love without regard for self-preservation. In His Holy and Precious Name. Amen.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Still Saturday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday.