Those of you who have seen the movie Moulin Rouge (and many of you who haven't) know how to finish the title.
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
There's also Ewan McGregor's repeated rant about love:
"Love is like oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!"
Sappy, right? Especially within the context of the movie, where the focus is entirely about romantic love (and/or lust). But if we take those lines out of context and look at them in terms of life in general . . . there is so much truth in them!
I was talking with one of my roommates about Love last night. She was reading 1 Corinthians 13 before she went to bed. Just about everyone has heard this passage before:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
I've been learning a lot about what it means to love this semester. I have been so weary, so utterly at the end of myself, that I have started to see more clearly what it means to let God love others through me. I haven't had anything of my own to give until this last week, really; and yet, I found that I was able to help some people through hard times better than I would ever have been able to on my own power. God is just awesome like that.
I've also been learning how to be loved. I discovered several years ago that I'm not very good at accepting love. I want to be self-sufficient. I'm stubborn, I'm independent, and I'm too smart for my own good. I don't want help from anyone. This semester, though . . . I have been forced to seek out help for the first time in ages. I've needed to rely on one friend in particular more than I've ever really relied on anyone. She's been absolutely amazing, and the best part of all of it is that she's been able to rely on me, too.
Over the past three months, I have been completely broken. I have had panic attacks, I've bawled my eyes out, I've spent large amounts of time hiding in my car or going for walks by myself because I didn't know where else to go or what else to do with myself. I've struggled to focus in my classes. I've barely felt human.
Things are finally looking up. I found out why I was struggling so much, and now I'm working to make it right. But part of that is asking for help . . . and for grace. I'm finding myself going to my professors to figure out how I'll end up with decent grades at the end of the semester.
God has been so faithful in all of this. He's blessed me with the most amazing friends I could possibly have asked for. I totally don't deserve them. He's given me the strength that I've needed to get through everything. He's humbled me. He's been gracious and patient with me. He's never left me for a moment.
When you think about it, the description of Love in 1 Corinthians 13 is, in many ways, a description of God's character. Think about it.
God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, is always trustworthy, always gives us reason to hope, always gives us the strength to persevere. God never fails.