A man came into my office several years ago. He had made an appointment because his family had insisted he do so. He was ready to end his 14-year marriage and they all thought that was a bad idea. He had not been seated long before he announced: “We just fell out of love”.
I could not stop the smile that crossed my face. I was thinking of how we fall in love like falling into a swimming pool. It covers us over completely and we are drowned in the emotion of it all. We can talk of nothing else. It consumes us. We drive our friends crazy with the talk of it. We make people feel uncomfortable when they are around us as we baby talk and create love nick names.
Now I am sitting across from a grown man who has fallen out of love like falling out of a high chair. If I had a giant pacifier I would have tossed it over to him. I could predict what was coming next it would be the story of how innocently he had fallen in love with someone else. They had not intended to fall in love but it just happened.
Perhaps even “god” was at work in this new found “love” he proclaimed. Both of us had been unhappy in our prior relationships. This new love was special they understood each other… Now my smile was gone and I wanted to toss him a life preserver because he had fallen into the pool again but this time it was a pool of self-deception.
Can love last? Is every relationship eventually going the way of this story?
He had done all the talking and about 35 minutes had passed. To be honest I did not want to hear a word he said but I dutifully listened and let him vomit up every word. I could not help but think about his children and his wife as I listened to him dismissively speak of the past 14 years of his life. Now I wanted to get my hands on a baseball bat. But thankfully only my Bible was in reach. When he stopped speaking he edged forward in his seat as if he was ready for my attack and his exit.
“What is Love? Is it a noun or a Verb?” He paused for a moment and thought. “I guess it is a verb”
“How did Jesus show Love to you and me?” “He died for us”.
“Do you think that when we are really bad, when we do things that are so painful to others, when we sin, that maybe then God falls out of love with us?”
“I would have to agree with you. I guess the real question is not can we fall in love but can we stay in love?”
The staying in love is where I Corinthians 13:4-7 comes into play…
“4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
This is the action of Love. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance”. Is that the kind of love we practice?
It was Mother Teresa who said: