Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pure Love

I sat by myself in a local coffee shop. I was trying to find a few minutes of solace in the midst of a very hectic week. I was perfectly content to be left alone and shut out the world. 

I'm sitting there reading when I notice an elderly couple come in the door. The woman is in a wheel chair. Her psychical appearance showing the deterioration of age and probably another physical condition. Her husband, a tall, strong man, (wearing a very retro pair of converse sneakers) navigated her to a table and made room for her chair.

The husband proceeded to order two coffees and a pumpkin muffin. I watched as he brought her a coffee and a straw so she wouldn't have to bend to reach the cup. He carefully cut up the muffin for them to share. As he was handing her the muffin, she beamed at him. I don't know if I every understood what it looked like when someone beamed until that moment. She smiled and her eyes showed the soul of a younger woman, in love with a man. 

The whole scene made me want to cry. Not out of sadness, but because I knew I had just witnessed pure love. Through all the trials that I assume this couple faced together, he was still there for her when she needed him and she loved him. 

As I go through my week, I am continually reminded that I and so many other people have no idea what pure love looks like. We like to pretend we have it. We spend all day thinking about that guy and obsess over whether he flirted with us or not, but we really miss this part of it. 

I watched this couple for a long time. I felt like I was invading a sweet, simple moment between them. He was her husband. He was willing to care for her in the good times and the bad. Through all their history together, he knew that she was his and he was hers. There was no option to leave. They were committed to each other. 

This is how relationships should be. I know so many people (I used to be one of them) who are cynical towards love. They think it's a temporary emotion or that two people cannot be together forever. I think this attitude comes from the fact that we haven't experienced pure love. More precisely, we don't recognize the pure love in our own lives.

I love this passage out of John

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
-John 15:12-14

Not only is Jesus telling us that He loves us, but He is also commanding us to love each other in the same way. Isn't this where we fall short? Are we striving to love each other in the same way that Jesus loves us? It's hard to love on people!

The truth is, it's impossible for us to ever match the love Jesus showed us by laying down His life for us. In my own life, I know that there are areas where I need to strive to "love better." I know that there is a pure love that I work to show. How have you seen pure love demonstrated? How can you demonstrate this love in your own life?

I don't know the name of the elderly couple I watched today, but they taught me a valuable lesson on what pure love really looks like.

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