Monday, February 23, 2009

The look of love: Days 7, 8 and 9

After a disastrous Day 6, I finally had a couple of good days. For days 7, 8 and 9, I thought I would combine the challenges in one post as they all were closely related.

I've been thinking a lot about love and how people relate to one another.

I recently read the book "The Shack," by Wm. Paul Young, and in it, there was a particular passage that had a profound impact on me. The book is about a man named Mack whose youngest daughter is abducted and brutally murdered while on a family vacation. Several years after the girl's disappearance, Mack receives a note, apparently from God, asking him to return to the abandoned shack where the murder took place. While there, Mack comes face to face with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. They have taken on human forms--and not necessarily how Mack pictured them. The thing that struck me in particular was how Mack observed how the three communicated with each other--they thoroughly enjoyed each other's company and gave each other their undivided attention--they demonstrated pure love for one another.

This gave pause for me to think of the couples or people I knew who actually treated each other with the love and respect as the Holy figures demonstrated in this book. I recalled a time when I was visiting the Mennonite family who sold me my commercial embroidery machine. The husband and wife treated each other with such great love and respect and showed such pure enjoyment for one another, that I began to crave it (the it that is love) in my own relationships.

I thought back to the early days of my relationship with Steve--when we were so in love with each other that we overlooked each other's faults--before the trappings of life began to weigh heavily on our relationship. Why is it that we lose sight of the very things that brought us together and start to nitpick at behaviors or habits that have no relevance? Why can't we just cherish the true, beautiful gift of love? And it is a gift--one that eluded me for so very long.

I remember a time when Steve and I were engaged and we were at a party dancing and laughing with one another. Afterward, a friend of mine came up to me and gave me a big hug and kiss and said how much she enjoyed watching me enjoy my fiance--how our very apparent love had touched her. So I had it--we had it. Well, darn it if we're not going to get it back!

So, the challenge for the past three days tasked us with coming up with lists of positive and negative attributes of our spouse. The list of positives by far outnumbered the negatives. And the list of negatives that I came up with were so very minor, that it hardly was worth it to write them down, tho it did make me realize how inconsequential they were in the grand scheme of things.

I not only made sure that I told Steve how much I appreciated the fact that he always was in a good mood, but I also set about showing him how much I appreciate and love him--the ol' "actions speak louder than words" scenario.

We took the kids to a neighborhood restaurant and pub the other night to listen to a friend's band. I let go of all of the stress and irritants that seem to be constant companions of late and just really enjoyed my family. When Steve spoke, he had my undivided attention. We laughed and joked and kissed and held hands. I looked at my children with love instead of ire--the way they deserved. You might say we had it going on. It made for quite the enjoyable evening.

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