Saturday, August 23, 2014

Love Must Be Loud

The were being typical little boys. "Mom, he did blah blah blah." "But mom, first he whine whine whine." And finally "I wish I could trade him in for a different brother." That was my final straw. I told them (for the millionth time. Not exaggerating) that they should always treat each ther with love, gentleness, and respect. I had them give each other hugs and say out loud  "you are one of the best gifts that God gave me." I make them say things like this often, because they don't  yet realize how strong your brain is.  If you keep saying it eventually you believe it.  So if I keep saying my brother is special, eventually the thought will stick. Or at least that's what psychologists claim... One brother enthusiastically grabbed his brother in a Bearhug/headlock and exclaimed "YOURE ONE OF THE BET THINGS GOD GAVE ME!" The other responded a little more quietly and even after multiple cues his mumbles could barely be heard. He was not putting any effort into this reconciliation.  Finally I explained that love must always be louder than anger.

Of course this confused them.

They understood that it is easy to express anger, hurt, frustration, and hate. Those easily carry human emotions into a loud, often explosive, physical state. But a quietly mumbled "I love you" is easily overshadowed by a screamed "I hate you." Ok, they got that one. So we moved on to finding Biblical examples of when love was loud. Love groaned in agony from the cross. Even as a desperate Son questioned why His own Father had turned away, he still chose to stay. For us. Out of love. When asked what the greatest commandments are, He boiled them down to loving God and loving others. 

I'm not talking about mushy, sentimental, country Western song love.  I'm talking about love as a decision. The love that looks at a person, flaws and all, and says "I love you." The love that makes a parent stay up nights and clean up vomit without complaint. The love that sees a man visit his wife long after her dementia has taken away any memory of him. The love that says "I could let go but I refuse." That's the kind of love that shouts as it works day in and day out. 

But too often it's silenced. 

I asked them if mommy and daddy always agree. No. Have we fought in front of them? *hangs head in shame. But we've been working on it. It's been a loooong time since an honest to goodness fight. But we still have difficult discussions and decisions to navigate. And we still will as long as we're married. But I old the boys that what gets us through is knowing that we're not going to give up. That we love each other more than were angry, hurt, prideful, etc.  The boys have already seen many failed relationships in their short lives. Their little friend's divorced parents. Grown siblings who don't speak to each other. Pride that is stronger than love and has torn families apart. They've seen much already. And they don't want it. So I try to lead them into making choices. The kind of choices that scream I love you! So that when the relationship is strained, when it's near breaking, they will know that love is still present. That they will stop and fight for that relationship because love is shouting don't give up! 

When anger is shouting that you must prove your point and be right, love must shout louder. When hurt gives the cold shoulder, love must be stronger. When pride refuses to reconcile, love must be the more stubborn . When all the selfish humanity inside you is screaming to put yourself first, love must calmly say over the din I choose to serve. As often happens, when I teach my children, I learn the most. Am I more willing to express how others disappoint me or how I love them? How will this change how I treat those I love? Will it challenge you?

"...Faith, hop, and love. But the greatest of these is love."

1 comment:

  1. Love this! This is something I need to remind my boys of now and as they grow up. Right now, Christian (4) is still learning how to live with his little brother. I try to tell him often that he is so blessed to have a little brother to love.