When my daughter was a toddler I used to take her with me to Bible study where she would play with the other toddlers. It was at one of those gatherings that one of the other moms said, “I really like how you just let S be S.” I had never thought about it, but I liked the compliment. And then I began to notice the amount of energy the other young moms put into shaping their children, while it had never occurred to me to do anything but watch the beauty of mine unfold. I steered and guided and corrected wrong behavior when necessary, but I didn’t try to shove my little round peg into any square holes.
And that, I think, is love.
Loving someone so much that you just want them to be the exquisite person they are.
Loving them so much that you wouldn’t dare step in and mess them up.
There is a sweet little story entitled, “The Strawberry Sundae” in a book entitled, The Millionaire and the Scrublady. The man telling the story bought his young granddaughter an ice cream sundae – chocolate, just as she requested. And he bought for himself strawberry:
So the little maiden ate her Chocolate Sundae, and liked it exceeding well. But she liked the Ripe, Rich, Red, Juicy Color of my Strawberry. So that she looked over now and then and almost wished that she had not ordered Chocolate. And when I saw that she was Interested, I ate slowly, so that when she had finished, I had only begun. And that was Rather Hard upon the little maiden.
Now, when she had finished, she clasped her little hands together, and she leaned her little round elbows on the table, and she rested her chin on her little clasped hands, and she looked over at my dish, and said: It looks so nice that I will not ask for any.
And this, too, is love: Beholding something/someone so wonderful that you wouldn’t dare ask for any.
Perhaps that should be the criteria when looking for a spouse: If he/she looks too nice to ask for any, they may indeed be the one.
Of course the ultimate answer to the question of Love is always Jesus.
He said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
So I would say in response to today’s prompt that the common thread in all kinds of love for all kinds of people and things is this: To lay down one’s preferences, agendas, dreams, desire for ownership, ego and future for the good of another.