Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

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A Little Think

Got Love?

How's your love life? In spite of some hits through the years, mine is better than ever! As far as romantic love goes, early on I noticed but wasn't noticed. Well, there was that time at 14 when I beat a guy, same age, who thought he was cool, at ping pong in my parent's basement while the adults visited upstairs. I had never met him before. After the game, he gave me a lip-lock, which I declined as fast as I could get out of there. I didn't go to any proms, and there was no double dating. I'm not whining here, because at the university I made up for lost time trying to figure out the rules for faking love, for what that was worth.

Fast forward through courtship, marriage, and children and my love lens picked up closer to 20-20! My kids and our Michigan vacation spot probably taught me as much about love and about guys as anything. Old Mr. Baker, for example, came there from Lima, Ohio in summers. A widower, he cared for himself, except the week his construction crew came to fish and fix up his three story 100-year-old house down by the little lake. The top floor had a view of Lake Michigan. His one friend taught me to filet fish like a pro, which came in handy because my 11- and 8-year-olds were bringing home perch and bluegill by the stringer full!

Mr. Baker never said he was lonely, but he'd light up when I'd drop off supper once a week. In his 80's, he'd be up on the roof or working in the garden and he'd stop to visit. Occasionally I'd bring the kids with their violins and we'd play out on his big front lawn. The neighbors wandered over, and we'd watch the sun go down "into" Lake Michigan and wait to hear the sizzle! Millie Edwards was there. Mr. and Mrs. Pimsner usually came across the lawn from next door, if Mr. Pimsner had dried the supper dishes, that is. Yep, old Mr. Baker received the love and remembered it all winter long when he'd call three times to say he was praying for me. We exchanged prayer requests and Christmas cards. He'd send me old clippings about the history of his Michigan home. Then when he was 90+, the calls stopped. I missed loving old Mr. Baker, but I was sure glad I had the chance to do it. Every time I bike past that house with its original metal lawn chairs that now belong to someone else, I thank God for weaving our lives together for a while. Mr. and Mrs. Pimsner finished up in a care facility where I visited them a few times. And after Millie Edwards died, I bought some lovely things from her estate sale that I still use.

Then there was Claude Gilbert who looked ancient mainly because he'd worked on the ships that sailed the Great Lakes and made a few unfortunate life choices along the way. I was pushing my two youngest in a stroller past his house one time, and we stopped to visit. From then on I was drawn to this man of regrets and sorrows, eaten up by his past. Over the next few years we developed a trusting friendship. He lived alone and on canned food mostly, except one day a week when he ate at the community center. It was easy for me to set aside a batch of this or that and drop it by. At first he was overwhelmed and hesitant, but then it became just fine. When I learned Claude had "fiddled" and even written a piece to his mother, I nudged him to play again. It was a thrill later that summer to sit at the piano in the community center filled with "seniors" and accompany Claude and my four children on their violins! Claude cried when it was over. Everyone else clapped so hard that the screen door bounced back and forth. But the best part of my "love affair" with Claude was when he came to understand that no matter what he had done in his past, Christ forgave him and welcomed him back, that he was saved for eternity by his faith in what Christ did on the cross. After that Claude smiled more, fiddled a lot more, and even packed up his old violin music for the kids. When Claude died, no one told me; I found out the next summer when I went to the house and it was all boarded up. Sometimes you make a really good friend that you love a lot and nobody even knows about it, but Claude and I knew Jesus brought us together to fall in love like that, and I rejoice that I'll see him again someday.

I've fallen in love with so many people since then, all because I've got love. That's the thing about love, when you've got it, actually, it's got you! I don't crank it out to please or to win or to manipulate. God pours it into me and it spills over onto others. It doesn't really come and go when it's God's love. It comes, it finds you, and it stays. Sure, there are interruptions. There are huge pauses. There may be no proms or dates, yucky kissing attempts or great ones. But where it's all headed is to bring people together in gentle, little, and lasting ways. God's love always finds a way...and although it doesn't ask for anything back, the rewards are tremendous.

Have I been disappointed with love? Oh sure -- plenty of times! But then, I turn to the Lover of my soul, Christ Himself. He grows us through moments like that to depend more on Him. When Jesus met the woman at the well, He asked for a drink of water without a cup and she questioned that, to which He said he could give her living water. Jesus explained that whoever drinks from that well will be thirsty again, but that those who believe in Him will never thirst. "Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." He revealed to her who He is, and she ran back to her town with the incredible news of the Messiah at the well. After so many disappointments in earthly love, she found the Love that matters.

If your love tank is a little low right now, ask Christ for a fill up. When He loves you, you have plenty to go around. You'll be amazed at the people who will love you back, who will blossom in the warmth of your love, and how you'll feel fully satisfied yourself. It all comes from Him. You simply share the love to bring a valentine to just about everyone you meet, all year long. Have a little think about it!

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