Wednesday, November 2, 2016

30 Days of Loving Well - Loving & Being Loved

(Giving a true "launch" to my 30 Days of Loving Well with an homage to my father's personal message, his signature homily.  I wrote about this message years ago in the months following Daddy's passing. (I invite you to read about it here.)  And though I won't go into the kind of detail about how Daddy was actually gifted this message from our Heavenly Father, at it's core, it is entirely. about. love.  
It bears repeating.  And repeating.  And repeating.
Until the message becomes part of our breath.)

My Daddy received a message after hours of prayer, a plea for words to share, on a long drive to speak in front of hundreds of people...

Tell them I love them.
Tell them to love themselves.
Tell them to love each other.
Tell them to love Me.

When I first heard him preach this homily, I was sitting on the altar with my then fiancee, my father delivering this missive as the sermon at our wedding.  It went on for some time as I drank in every word.  Later, when I watched the wedding video and had time to better digest the words, I'm embarrassed to admit, I thought to myself, "For something he is preaching everywhere, all over the country, this message isn't very radical."  Oh, the arrogance of youth...

More than twenty years after that day...
After many joyful moments and heartbreaking goodbyes...
After learning and maturing (kind of?), experiencing and living in prayer...
I see the depth in its simplicity.
For you see, to follow the steps above,
Truly follow them...
As in each and every moment of each and every day...
Our worldly problems could be veritably eradicated.

I remember Daddy explaining the order in which the directives were received, and he practically crowed when the first lesson was "Tell them I love them."  He said he knew that if the first dictate had been "Tell them to love Me," that he may have believed it to be Satan, as he always puts himself first.
But since God's words were that He loved us, he knew it was truly God speaking to him.
That God, even in His awesome kingship, had always put us first.
So of course, he would want us to know of His great love for us, despite our flawed humanity.
Of course, to believe the first, you almost need to accept the second message beforehand.
Because without love of self, we cannot -
and often do not -
believe anyone can love us...or give our love to others in equal measure.
Oh, how God knew our frailty when He gave the message.

And that frailty spills over into our personal relationships.
Tell them to love each other.
Tell them to love each other.
Oh, how simple it should be.
Love each other.
Love each other.
Just. love. one. another.

Can we?
Can I?

Then last...but truly so very far from the least...

Tell them to love Me.
Tell them to love Me.
Love Me...
Love Me...
.....Love in all its grace and goodness.....

I love you.
Love yourself.
Love each other.
Love Me.

Four simple rules to follow to live a lifetime of love.

{Thank you for reading.
Thank you for loving.
Thank you for travelling this road with me.}

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