“Love one another.”
It sounds so simple. But it’s not!
Think about someone in your life right now: a BFF, significant other, friend, sibling, parent. Someone you can go to sharing who you are and not feel the need to hold anything back. Are they easy to love, all the time? No. In truth, no. We have differences of opinion, emotional responses, of how we process things. That means we may come to different conclusions or take a very different route of getting to the same one.
Do we have the patience needed to wait them out? The endurance to respectfully disagree with each other for now? Can we create safe space between us when our differences seem so large so that we can continue to be in loving relationship?
Think about it. Any couple that has been married for years will tell you it takes work and dedication to the marriage to make it work. In my years as a pastor, I have heard many a long-timer in marriage say that they would not go to bed until the argument or disagreement had been settled and dealt with. It sometimes meant for sleepless nights. Other times they were able to resolve things and actually sleep. And they stayed married and in love.
Some relationships are easier than others but all take commitment to see it through. Someone once said to me, ‘Your religion, it’s all about love, right? That’s all. What’s the big deal?’
That is the assignment of our faith and it isn’t easy. It is a big deal because no two people are alike. Even twins have differences if one pays attention. And that’s the thing. We have to pay attention.
When we start to slide away from each other it can be so subtle because we’ve begun to take the other for granted. We stop leaving little love notes around for the other to find. Our texting drops off checking in through a day. Our kindness of saying thank you for little tasks done, asked for or not, fall away. And so does our heart.
Who in your life have you begun to take for granted? And even harder, who have you decided you don’t like anymore? Why not? What is your part in the distance that has grown between you? What small nicety/old tradition can you reintroduce to that relationship that could regenerate the love that has waned? Is there an apology that needs to be spoken or addressed?
“Love one another.” It is a daily, moment-by-moment action that we choose to be a part of or not. It can be work. It is definitely active effort. That is why for those of us of faith, we need to keep connected to our God so that we can continue to love one another as God loves us.
How would the world change to the good if we all actively love one another? Let’s give it a try.
Rev. Karen Martin Tichenor is pastor at Soldotna United Methodist Church, 158 S. Binkley St., Soldotna. Contact 907-262-4657. Sunday worship: 10 a.m. Soldotna Food Pantry: Wednesdays, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.