Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. These are the fruits of the Spirit. We are taught these at an early age in Sunday school, VBS or camp. Nine little lessons and guidelines on how to live a good life found in Galatians 5:22. The verses directly before (19-21) are things not to do. If I were to write about each one, good and bad, I could have a topic for 24 days! That would be so much easier than just writing random things every day. Even though I'm sure you all love my random thoughts.
To start us off is the best one of all: love. Ah, love, it is the cause of happiness, the victim of heartbreak and the reason to live. Tis' the season of love in the Western and parts of the Eastern world. It seems everywhere I look, I'm reminded that the days are short before National Singles Awareness Day. More commonly known as Valentine's Day. The only day that can compete for flower sales is Mother's Day, which wins out. Thank you Mom's everywhere. Chocolate, flowers, stuffed animals, lingerie, dinner for two, the works. Odd that all of this came from the martyrdom of a few men; one which was illegally, at the time, marrying couples in secret.
Let's get back to the main topic, shall we? We've all been asked at some point, "What does 'love' mean to you?". There are so many possible answers. To a six year old it could be a cuddly puppy or kitten. A ten year old might say its when their sibling or friend shares a favorite toy. Thirteen year old boys think that love is gross and girls have cooties. Thirteen year old girls think romantic movies are great, but the boys they know have cooties. They grow up a bit and dip their toes in the dating pool. Only if their parents are letting them date before they're 30, none of this sneaking around business, right? Not likely, with the rate of teen pregnancies, but that's off topic. To a person in their 20's, love is either all around you with friends getting married, or it seems to avoid you like the plague. Now you've reached those middle years, and there's still hope! Don't have a mid-life crisis just yet. For those in their 50's +, congratulations if you're still with your spouse! The odds are getting slimmer of a successful marriage while the divorce rate has sky-rocketed from what it was when you were a kid. You have something very special if you've put up with the same person for that long! It is amazing how love can grow with you.
That is just one kind of love, romantic, or Eros in Greek. There's also Storge (stor-gay) or familial love, Philia, friendship love, and Agape, selfless love for others. And of course, God's love.
The love a parent has for their child is unlike any other. These little carbon copies of yourselves will melt and break your heart more than once in their lifetime. You are their greatest example of how to show love to others. How to love their family, their friends, and how to feel compassion for strangers. Somewhere along the road you may have to sit down and have the "Talk". In total, parent's can teach us every kind of love.
So where do they get their knowledge and wisdom from? I'm not a parent, but I think the best source is the Bible. Every one of the four loves is displayed in there. Seriously, Song of Solomon would make a sailor blush! There is a great hymn that says, "The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell...To write the love of God above Would drain the oceans dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky".
I've written four pages in a journal and not all about God. I could continue, but even the ocean as ink and the sky as parchment can't hold it all.
Love. Live it, share it.