“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoice in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things believe all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NKJV)
C.S. Lewis was a great writer and theologian who married a poet named Joy Davidman in 1956. Originally, the marriage was one of convenience to allow Joy, whose visa was about to expire, to remain in England. Shortly after their marriage, Joy was diagnosed with bone cancer and the care that she required brought Lewis to the realization that he was truly in love with her and must now come to terms with the fact that he was going to lose someone that his heart told him he couldn’t live without.
As a child, Lewis had learned to cope with the dysfunctions of a traumatic childhood by escaping into a world of make believe, as evidenced by his prolific writing of children’s books. However, the situation he faced with his wife was something he chose not to run from; it required a mature and unwavering sacrifice that only an unselfish love could provide.
As adults, we often treat love as a thing and not a principle. We give and withhold it like it’s a commodity that can be bought, sold, or used for payment or punishment. Often, we give only a portion of ourselves and wait in safety for a return before giving any more. What’s sad about this behavior is that while we may keep our hearts protected from pain, we also give away the opportunity to experience the joy of a fulfilling love. Having never given or received anything of real worth or value, we settle for a mediocre expression of affection that doesn’t deserve the title “love,” but instead becomes a game of hide and seek.
May you have the courage to love those whom God has given to you with everything you have. In the words of C.S. Lewis, the pain that you may experience from losing them in the future is worth the happiness of loving them fully in the here and now.