“I am God,” says Love. – Marguerite Porete
Lynsey Bishop gave me my very first Valentine’s card in elementary school. She walked to my desk, placed the small card in my hand, and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Jay” with a kind smile. I was in love. But just as quickly as I fell into this unexpected love, I fell right out of it as I watched her repeat this delivery to my classmates. First it was Todd, then Jimmy, then Kenny, then Garrett, etc. This was my introduction to romantic heartbreak.
In a strange way, we never really grow out of this sort of scattershot approach to love. We may become a bit more sophisticated and seasoned as we age, but even still, most of us continue tossing love out there without discretion, like splattered paint, hoping that our reckless repetition will somehow miraculously produce a Jackson Pollock masterpiece someday. But while the canvases of our lives were designed for beautifully intricate and carefully crafted works of art, delicate and unique to our own personal stories, they are instead most often covered with senseless mess and chaos created by our irresponsible abuse of our own hearts and the hearts of others. We give, take, and throw away love as though it was a cheap Valentine’s card.
But we must be mindful of the way we protect, uphold and express love, not just because love is of great value, but because love is God himself. God is love (1 John 4:16) and therefore, love is God. To love another is to see and feel them through God himself. To love and be loved is to experience one another, in the fullness of our humanity, in the infinite expanses of God’s reality. This means that we strive to see and treat one another the way God sees and treats us. We open ourselves up to one another, selflessly and sacrificially. Love is only love when God is at the center. And if love is at the center of anything, God is at its center. The entire world, regardless of religion, has experienced God because the entire world has experienced love. Please understand, I am not attempting to make any sort of soteriological point here. My intention is only to provoke a heightened awareness of God’s presence in anything and everything that is driven by and centered on love.
So today, remember that in loving another and in being loved, you are experiencing nothing less than God himself. If you know love, you know God and you are not godless. If you know God, you know love and you are not loveless. May God ruin, recreate, and resurrect us all in the light of his great love, in the light of himself.