On Valentine’s Day weekend, I made heart-shaped cookies with the people at the home where I work as a caregiver. We watched Titanic, epic love story of the 20th Century, and colored glittery valentines. As days go at the home, Valentine’s Day went well. I like days where the home feels cozy, warm, and loving.
Sometimes going out of the home ruins that feeling.
Sometimes we’re out in public together and someone walks a wide circle around us. Or someone gets quiet and hurries past us. Or adults pull their staring children away from us.
I want to cry because these people are often so unloved by the world. I watch them as they’re thrilled to be able to even pick up a crayon and draw a light, crooked line on a heart, or dump a cup of sugar into a bowl for cookies. I see all the effort that it takes them, and I want to accuse God;
“YOU made them unable to walk and talk.”
But my conscience won’t let me.
The complicated part of my conscience that wants to accuse God for the world’s problems is the same part that proves God’s existence and love. It’s the God-given longing inside of me that screams;
“Things shouldn’t be this way! People shouldn’t have to live with these challenges! The world is cruel to them!”
That’s the desire that God created which groans and cries for love and perfection. It’s the hole in every human that uncomfortably yells, “Something is wrong. Something is missing. There’s something more.” God created this desire in us to cultivate a discontentment for anything less than Himself and heaven.
We’ll all know God and heaven when we see them because they will be the satisfaction of that ingrained craving we all had on earth, that craving for ourselves and everyone around us to be healed and whole, kind and fulfilled, peaceful and happy, loving and loved.
In the meantime, whenever I see something awful, something that should never, ever happen to a child, a nation, a masterpiece, an animal, a friend, and even myself, I need to re-focus on God. Instead of accusing Him, I need to sink into the part of my created being that screams;
“THIS IS WRONG! THIS IS UNFAIR!”
I need to take a deep breath and let those words be true.
The fact that I recognize wrong and injustice proves that there is a right and a just: God. He loves the world.
God created this desire in us to cultivate a discontentment for anything less than Himself and heaven.
Love is most truly love when the people I’m holding crayons in hands for and changing and feeding can’t (and probably won’t) do anything for me in return. God teaches me to genuinely love by allowing people who can’t always return love into my life.
Sometimes people in public do stop and talk with me and the people I support at stores. They normally say something like;
“Wow! I could never do that type of work!”
“I admire you for caring for them! I’m just, it’s… that’s just not for me.”
I want to retort;
“Oh, so you could never love someone that can’t always love you back?”
“What?! Loving and helping people isn’t for you?!”
Sometimes people smile at me and say;
“You know, it must be rewarding.”
And I want to say;
“Rewarding? Like having a plate of the dinner I just made flipped on the floor? Like getting slapped when I help someone pee? Or holding someone back as they throw my head against a wall?”
These answers are contradictory. On one hand, I want to tell others that I love helping and caring for people and that they should be involved and interested, too. On the other hand, I want to point out all the struggles I face when I’m supporting people because I’m selfish and human, too.
Love means continuing to serve when you’re undervalued and overworked.
Love is allowing your sleep to be interrupted by your fragile friends who are screaming for help as a storm rocks their boat. Love is staying up when Nicodemus comes to talk late at night out of fear of being discovered in your company. Love is not sending the crowds away to go and find their own food. Love is looking on each person with compassion because they need guidance and instruction, and they usually don’t get it in the ways that they need. Love is healing the ear of the man who wants to kill you. Love is being pleased and crushed to bruise and break yourself for the good of others. Love is stretching out your arms and dying in the worst way possible so that people can one day be healed and whole, kind and fulfilled, peaceful and happy, loving and loved.
God teaches us true love by allowing people who don’t always return or appreciate our love into our lives, and He shows us how to love them anyway because that’s what He does for us.
I’m immensely privileged to be allowed to show God’s love to the people who don’t always love me. I’m blessed with a conscience that recognizes the injustices in the world. But most of all, I’m gifted with a God that loves me when I don’t always love Him and rights every injustice in His perfect time.