You know, I love a good story! I mean, really love…a well thought out and well understood, well told story and I don’t particularly care if it’s a written story, or a story given out loud. I have been that way ever since I was a little kid and at times I would make up stories, when other stories weren’t available, (not lies mind you). Sometimes I would have a bit of a story and nothing else and I would be able to fill in on the story, just for myself, and it often made me feel really good inside.
I remember when I was a kid, maybe five or six years of age and my dad and I had gone to the store for whatever and he asked me to sit on a bench and wait for him. Back in those days, if your mom or dad told you to do something, you just did it or you paid the consequences with your butt. Also, back in those times, we didn’t have the predators running around like we do today!
Since my dad was in the military, other parents would watch out for the kids also, whether theirs or anyone else’s kids, we were military families and we all looked out for each other, plain and simple. Once I saw a very old couple walking along, hand in hand and I couldn’t help but notice, they had been together so long, they looked somewhat alike. They definitely looked like they belonged together and this sort of intrigued me, even with me being so young, I was sort of awe struck by them.
I didn’t know it back then, but by observing them, their hair and their facial features, the way they walked, how they talked to each other, and even by how they comforted each other by holding hands, I instinctively knew they had been “in love” with each other for many, many, years and this sort of melted my very young heart. Inside my head, I heard my own voice say, “I want that…when I get that old.”
In my head I was able to know that the couple had been born before the turn of the century, probably married during the very early years of the 20thcentury, I was mesmerized by this. I remember that I had thought about this all that day and have remembered this ever since at times throughout my life. I would hopefully seek to be like them. I had filled in the gaps that I didn’t and also would never know. I made up a story in my head about them, about children and nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles and somehow it sort of came out like a fairy tale, if you will. The one underlying thought was always that one day, I wanted to be in a relationship with someone and be just like that couple.
I remember as a young man, watching my dad chase my mom around the house. It always began with me hearing my mom…sort of chirp! And then the race was on, up and down the hallway, through the rooms, sometimes out front and then through the back door, my mom giggling the entire way! It always ended with them hugging each other and a kiss and I was hooked on love. This took place many, many times and even in the last year of my dad’s life and it was something my mom could never forget. She knew beyond doubt, my dad loved her!
A few years after my dad passed away, my mom tried dating a couple of times and it never was the same for her, and I know why. Mom told me so one day. They had never been to anything but a dinner somewhere, but there was this lack of a special sort of excitement for her. She told me, there could never be another for her than dad, some how, some way, HE had always been different and would always stay that way with her, She sort of settle into that mind set, happy and content with just that and in another three years, she passed away from pancreatic cancer.
Now it is important to know, my mom and dad were born-again Christians and just before my mom passed, she told me that she loved my dad so very, very, much and she was happy knowing she was going to be with the Lord and my dad once again. Though it killed my heart when my dad passed, it was equally bad for me when my mom passed. Now, as an old man myself, I still miss them terribly, but in my mind, I KNOW they are simply on vacation and waiting for me and my wife to arrive.
John 10.11-15: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Scripture like this, proves to me that the Bible is a love story, no matter what else is happening at the time (like wars and problems between people). The underlying feeling is always one of pure love, the kind of love that makes an old couple look alike or has Mom and Dad chasing each other around. I didn’t always know this about the Bible, many times in my youth, it was more like a textbook for school. For the most part, other than music, I did not like school and I definitely did not apply myself. And it was music that filled many, many, hours in my life and the majority of my mountains and valleys were expressed in my heart with music.
I remember my very first experience with love or maybe it would be better to say, I remember my very first heartache. My First true girlfriend was Debra and her dad was in the military like my dad and we met in the Philippines. She was also my very first kiss. When she and her family rotated back to the USA, my heart broke in half and to this day, I can still feel that pain. Yes, I know, that was puppy-love, but it was for me, my first love and at times love hurts. But with experience and perseverance, one learns how to love better and more openly, as with my wife, Monika today. I’m simply crazy about her!
My dad let me out of the car on the curb, after Debra left and I watched her plane pass overhead while my little transistor radio played, “Rhythm of the Rain” by the Cascades. I sat there and cried my heart out and I felt like I wanted to die! When I got home, eyes swollen from crying, my mom hugged me and told me not to worry or feel bad, there would definitely be someone, someday, that would catch my eye and my heart. She also told me something I will never forget, “Love really hurts sometimes but that is how it teaches you how to love better and better. Then someday, when that special someone comes along, you’ll fall in love and that love will grow and grow.”
She was so very right!
So, I guess the question is, “What turns love…into true love?” Usually, for humans it has to do with things that brings certain people together, like music. I remember, my mom and dad, on special occasions, would “cut a rug” with a song like Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.” I was mesmerized by them, they sure knew how to dance! Actually it could be many, many, other things as well, but whatever it is, it brings two people together as a start.
It takes time and then it blossoms and roots start growing deeper, until one day, with a lot of work and care, real love sets in. The Bible tells us it is like a grapevine, it starts out very small, but with good soil and proper watering and sunlight, the vine begins to grow. It stretches out its arms and leaves and begins to crawl up the trellis and the roots slowly go deeper. It even produces grapes, but until the entire vine is mature, the grapes are never as sweet. It goes on to tell, that without the Vine (Jesus) the branches (You and me) will never grow and become mature. Without the vine, the entire plant will wither and die!
John 15.4-6: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
When I fell in love the first time, I was immature, too young for that experience. Years later I met and fell in love with my wife, Monika, and now I KNOW what true love is. Best of all, it prepared me for the greatest love of my life, with Jesus Christ. Monika and I have been married for 38 years and we have been fruitful in so many ways, not only with children, but friends and other family members and we continue to grow in the maturity of Jesus Christ.
In my almost fifty years in medicine, I have witnessed many things; but life is precious, a baby is a precious new life. I also know if all the factors are not correct life will never begin, it is a very intricate and specific set of circumstances that brings about life. The very first and most essential part is God the Almighty. It is the very essence of love that gives you and me the next breath of air! It is also the love of our Abba Father that allows for the conception of a child, the first division of one cell into two cells. Where do you think those chromosones, that RNA and DNA come from? From there the list goes on and on, almost without end, because that life is so very, very, complex. From there that complex life-form becomes a Glenn Miller or a member of the Cascades and the music rolls out, but who placed that music in their hearts to begin with?
Have you ever sat back and wondered to yourself, where has all that music gone? Why is it that some of the very best music is no longer around? Where have all the thrills of heart, the depths of love, real love, gone ? I remember the Christmases of old, when I was a kid, the trees and the tensil, the good smells and even better food. I remember the cold evenings when we would go out for the entire evening and search for that one special tree from all the trees lots that were around.
Giggling and laughing and chilled to the bone, but happy! We would jump in the old car and dash home, a nice warm home and sit down to have a bowl of hot potato soup and a loaf of French bread! For most of the people nowdays, that would sound dull and boring or something that “common-folk” would do. Maybe it is, but for us…it was the absolute BEST of times! Who do you think, made those times so wonderful and then made them last in a person’s heart for so many years? Abba Father, our Lord and Savior…HE is LOVE!
Am I the only one that sits and thinks of these things and then asks the question “Where has all that Love gone ?” Most have their imitation trees and their processed meals and pre-wrapped gifts and even now days, where did all the good cold evenings go ? Does anyone still enjoy cranberry juice with cinnamon sticks warmed on the stove, anymore? Do we pass on the old and time honored traditions anymore, or have we placed them in the coffins of our parents and buried them as well?
Jesus Christ, our Abba Father is still here! So who dropped the ball and killed love?