Saturday, August 20, 2016

When Love Isn't Easy

We met in a dimly lit room. Her eyes briefly met mine before she scurried off into mischief. She is a ball of sass, wound up energy, and hurt she doesn't even know she harbors. She eagerly climbed in my car that day, both of us ready for an adventure. But adventures aren't always easy, you know?

Those first couple days, we survived. We tapped out a rhythm, she and I, figuring out how to keep time with each other. But we never really found that magical beat. I wondered, "Where did I go wrong?! Why can't I figure this out?" Her heart, I'm sure, had questions of its own, questions I could never  answer. Adventures aren't always easy, you know?

She broke one night. Spilled and dumped and splattered feelings and toys all over the bedroom. After it was over, I stewed. I brewed up a pot of black anger, no cream, and my eyes were opened to the darkness of my own heart. The love has never come easy with her. I've known easy love before, the kind that blossoms without even water or nurture. The kind that curls up beside you and warms your insides. With her, I've had to search for it...digging deep, trying to mine moments that sparkle so the ones that dampen don't seem quite so overwhelming. Sometimes when they say "fake it 'till you make it," they mean fake it for a really, really long time. Maybe forever. But that's ok, because adventures aren't always easy, and we put compassion and kindness and humility and gentleness and patience on like clothes (Colossians 3:12).

The other night, I was with some friends, helping their toddler change into his pajamas. The only thing was, he didn't want to put his pajamas on. He fought hard, throwing them across the room. He screamed and clutched at his daytime clothes, not wanting to be stripped of his shirt and pants for those darn pajamas, so-help-him. I think about how often I am just like him. There are these clothes of compassion and kindness and humility and gentleness and patience we are supposed to wear, and I DO.NOT.WANT.TO.PUT.THEM.ON sohelpme. I kick and scream and clutch at my comfortably familiar outfit of selfishness and pride and MYplan and anger. I don't want to take MY outfit off and I CERTAINLY don't want to wear patience or kindness or compassion.

Love is easy when it's easy, isn't it?! I think I expected easy love, and instead Jesus is giving me a good dose of exactly what I needed: Hard love. The kind you have to put on EVERY MINUTE (of every day) because it doesn't come easy. The kind you have to CHOOSE to WEAR. The kind that says, "I'll wipe the snot off your face and clean up the room you destroyed and STILL scoop you up and call you precious." This adventure? It has not been easy. But it is good. And maybe one of these days this outfit of compassion and kindness and humility will fit like I've never worn anything else.