Friday, February 7, 2014

Retro Reality Check: Define Love

By Lorraine Walker

Preparing an article for this time of year always gives me pause. How do I say in another way what Jesus demonstrated so many years ago, in a way so profound that words cannot express it? I did a quick, very unscientific poll on Facebook, asking my friends how they defined love. The respondents, all Christians, answered the same thing. Their best definition of love was “The Cross”.

There is no better definition of love, so this year I thought I would show another picture of love. Love comes in all shapes and sizes, colours and styles. The love of Jesus often shows up in unusual places and when you least expect it. Then again, shouldn’t we expect to find His love evident where things are the least lovely?

Back in November I was driving to work and stopped at a light in the middle of downtown. Crossing several lanes of traffic in front of me was an older gentleman, hurrying across the frigid pavement in bare feet. Not only was he without shoes, he was without pants and his shorts, t-shirt and plaid over shirt were extremely inadequate in the below freezing wind. I felt compassion for this individual but felt helpless as he wandered down the street out of my line of vision. The lights changed and I continued on to work, praying that someone would cross his path and help him.

Early December, I walked into work early one morning to find my coworker Bonnie collapsed on the floor. The next traumatic hour left a few scenes burned into my mind. Dialing 911, listening to Bonnie’s labored breathing, watching the emergency team efficiently working to bring back a pulse, scrambling to find identification and the number of a loved one. Kneeling by her side and praying for this lady who always had a smile on her face, a kind word for everyone and a positive enthusiasm for her work.

Unfortunately for us, the Lord chose this to be the beginning of Bonnie’s entrance to His home. During her funeral, our Chaplain mentioned everything about this lady who had become an integral part of our work lives. Her generosity to those who walked through our doors, her graciousness to those who asked for her assistance and her ability to make the office coffeemaker produce drinkable coffee were all mentioned, as well as her deep faith in God.

Bonnie wasn’t one to preach or talk ‘religious’. She wouldn’t volunteer an ‘I’ll pray for you’ and wasn’t comfortable with some protestant traditions. She and I didn’t really talk about our faith together. But Bonnie showed her love to others and this was evident in everything that was said about her.

One morning back in November, Bonnie was walking to work from her downtown home when she ran into an elderly gentleman. She went to speak to him and explained how he could find his way to our men’s shelter and find the help he needed. For you see, this man was hurrying down the street without shoes on. In fact, he hadn’t any pants either, and his shorts, t-shirt and plaid over shirt were extremely inadequate in the frigid temperatures. Bonnie reached out with the love of Christ when I was unable to.

I won’t forget Bonnie or the way the Lord used her life to teach me two valuable lessons. First, that life is precious and we shouldn’t let a chance to love someone pass us by. And second, if we see someone in need and are not able to do more than send up a prayer, chances are the Lord has prepared someone else to meet that need. Nothing surprises Him. After all, He wrote the book on Love.

By Lorraine Walker
Reality Check: Define Love first published February 2009 on SGM Radio website
For current Reality Check features click here

No comments:

Post a Comment