Getting to the Bottom of Love

As soon as I got out of the car, I knew I was in trouble.  I felt a cool breeze on the seat of my pants.  Uh oh, I thought, ripped jeans.   I reached back to see how bad it was but couldn’t find any hole.  No breaches in my britches.  No rips, no tears, nothing.  I thought I must be imagining things. 

A normal person would probably have investigated further, but I was in a hurry.  I had a boatload of work to do so I shrugged it off and ran into the cafe.  I had my laptop and only a couple of hours to knock out a serious amount of writing.  By the time I’d found a table and set up my stuff, I’d forgotten all about my little problem.

Then I went up to order a drink.  At the counter.  In front of every customer in the place.  That’s when I noticed that pesky breeze again.  Not good.  I casually investigated, pretending to reach for my wallet, but still couldn’t feel a thing.  

Despite my lack of evidence, I couldn’t escape the sneaking suspicion that something had gone terribly wrong south of the border.  A quick trip to the restroom confirmed my worst fears – a five inch rip right down the rear of my jeans.  Five inches!  Think Grand Canyon in denim.  Now what was I supposed to do?

If I’d been four, I would have yelled for my mom. At forty, I called my wife.  “Uh, honey, I have a situation.”  She wasn’t surprised.  I always have a situation.   Fifteen minutes later, though, she came to my rescue with a new pair of pants. 

It made me think about how the Bible says that love never fails.  Of course my wife was going to come bail me out.  That’s what we do.  It didn’t matter that she had her hands full with a 3 year old to drop off at preschool and a job to get to soon after that.  When one of us is stuck, the other comes to the rescue.  Even in the most embarrassing situations in life, that’s what love does. 

Around Valentine’s Day every year, we hear a lot of talk about what we call love, but usually it’s not love at all.  It’s selfish infatuation.  It’s all about how you make me feel or what you can do for me.  We talk about falling in love, falling out of love and losing that loving feeling.  But the fact is, you can’t lose real love.  You don’t fall into it.  You don’t fall out of it.  You choose it. 

That’s why love never fails.  It’s based on a choice, not a feeling.  The choice to love is to choose to be committed to the good of the person you love no matter what bone-headed thing they do.  Sure, feelings of passion and affection comes along for the ride, but sometimes they dry up.  Love, however, keeps on going.

When I was at my worst, God chose to love me, and trust me, he’s seen it all.  He was there in my greatest moments, and He was there in my lowest.

If you think standing in a restaurant showing off your backside is humiliating, imagine how it feels to stand before a perfect God with all of your life fully exposed before Him. 

And yet, instead of condemning me, God came to my rescue.  He covered my shame.  He gave me new clothes.  That’s what love does.  It rescues.  It bails us out.  No matter what we’ve done or where we’ve been, love never fails.

God’s love never fails because God never fails, and He is committed to you.

Maybe instead of sending someone a Valentine’s Day card this year, a better way to celebrate would be to show them some good old-fashioned selfless love.  Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.  Overlook an embarrassing mistake.  Come to someone’s rescue who would otherwise be hopelessly up a creek without you. 

And if you see a guy in a coffee shop with the seat ripped out of his pants, pretend like you didn’t.  I’m sure his wife will thank you later.




The Great Fairy Wand Rescue

When it comes to preschool ballet recitals, my family is a well-oiled machine.  Everyone has their job.  Christy and the grandmas get the girls ready.  I go early, pick up a bouquet of flowers, and save us all seats.

I’m always there when doors open to make sure we get the best spot.   The other dads pretend like it’s not a competition, but I know better.   Every guy understands that the measure of true masculinity is landing prime parking and seating for your family.  This hunting-gathering instinct is hard-wired into male DNA. 

I pulled up downtown at 5:30 p.m., just as the doors opened, and sprinted for the theater, barely edging out an elderly couple for five chairs in the second row.  Some over-achiever had beaten me to the front.  All in all, though, the second row was still an admiral position. 

Dancers didn’t arrive until 6:00, and the recital didn’t start until 7:00.  That meant I had plenty of time to sit back and relish my victory as the less punctual fathers settled for the third row and back. 

I glanced at a program I’d grabbed on the way in, and that’s when I noticed a problem.  The recital actually started at 6:30, a half an hour earlier than we’d thought.  No big deal.  The girls should be there by 6:00 so that just meant less time to wait.

My wife called right at 6:00 with the bad news.

“We’re here,” she said, “but we forgot Emma’s wand.”  Icy panic gripped my chest.  All of the ballerinas had fairy wands.  It was integral to the dance.  She would be the only girl on stage without a wand, and I was afraid that not only would it ruin her big moment, but it might actually throw her off.  We’d missed a few rehearsals because of vacation, and she was struggling to learn all of the choreography. 

We had to have that wand.  The only problem was that we lived a solid 20 minutes away without traffic. 

“We don’t have time to go home,” I said.  “This thing starts in 30 minutes!”  I looked back to the program and realized there were a couple of dances before her number that might just buy me enough time.   “Wait,” I said.  “I’m going for it.  I think I can make it.” 

I charged out the door, blowing by my family in the hallway.  I yelled over my shoulder, “Don’t worry. Daddy’s going for the wand!”  I had to make it.   I just had to. 

Once I shot off in my Honda, everything blurred, kind of like in Star Wars when the Millenium Falcon went into hyperspace.  I didn’t actually break any speed limits because I knew I couldn’t afford to get pulled over, but I drove more strategically than I ever had in my life. 

When one lane slowed, I whipped over to the other, drafting and slingshotting around cars like a NASCAR veteran.   I spotted holes in traffic, three or four cars ahead, and took advantage of every opening.  I prayed my way through dozens of green lights, begging God to clear my path like the Red Sea. 

I made it home in record time, grabbed the wand and headed back.  I hit every light perfectly until I got back downtown.  One block away from the theater I sat at a red light for what felt like an hour.  I was ready to just throw it into park in the middle of the street and run for it.  I knew I only had minutes left, if that. 

Finally the light turned and I slid into the parking lot, leapt up two flights of stairs and burst into the back of the auditorium clutching the pink fairy wand like the Olympic torch.  I felt like an ancient Greek warrior who’d made it through enemy lines to deliver a message to my commander.  Gasping and wheezing, I stumbled to the second row and handed my daughter the wand.

“Here, baby, Daddy made it.  I have your wand!” 

She looked at me and smiled. 

“It’s okay, Daddy,” she said.  “Miss Rebecca has an extra one.”

Miss Rebecca has an extra one?  Miss Rebecca has an extra one?  Okay, so I did all of that for nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I was supposed to be a hero, but instead I was just some weird guy rushing around downtown Lexington with a frilly fairy wand.

But then I realized that sometimes acts of love are like that.  You can’t control the outcome or how other people will respond, but you do it anyway.  You make the effort.  You give the gift.  You serve and sacrifice to show people they matter.  Even if it sometimes feels pointless. 

The truth is, though, love is never pointless.  Even if the gift is rejected, it always reflects the heart of the giver.  If not, God would be the biggest chump in the universe.  After all, He created people to be in relationship with Him, but He also gave us the free will to blow Him off. 

Maybe that’s why the Bible says that love never fails.  It always hopes.  It always perseveres.  The simple act of sacrificing for the good of others makes me more like my maker.   Some days the sacrifice will be needed.  Some days it won’t.  But if I’m in the habit of living a lifestyle of love, I’m much more likely to come through when it counts.



It’s Elementary, My Dear Ringo

I didn’t want to cause an international incident.  The last I needed was to start a war with Ireland.  How could I live with that on my conscience?  But seriously, this guy’s accent was driving me crazy.  I had to get to get to the bottom of it, even if it meant breaking protocol. 

It all started innocently enough.  A friend of mine was getting married in Ireland and trying to make the arrangements from back here in Kentucky.  Apparently securing a clergyman across an ocean is harder than catching a leprechaun, but my friend had finally found a reputable guy and needed a reference from her home church. 

That’s where I came in. 

It was my first overseas conference call, so I was pretty pumped.  Actually it was my first overseas call of any kind.   I felt like I was about to broker a million dollar deal with some high rolling business cartel. 

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