Well, my ten month project in Memphis has finally come to completion. My last Sunday there, I listened to a song by Sara Groves, and some of the words really resonated with me. With permission of Sara and Brother Steve, here is a clip of those words.
It is good to come together
In our friendship to remember
All the reasons hope is in our hearts
Those are the words that resonated with me, from “Joy Is In Our Hearts.”
You see, I made a lot of new friends, and shared many laughs – which is one of the most important aspects of Good Love. And I will remember those times, the words and meals and laughs shared. In fact, the next time I drive in Spain or France and see those speed limit signs with the RECUERDE or RAPEL – REMEMBER – some of the memories that will come to mind as I am instructed to REMEMBER the speed limit, are my memories of working in Memphis, and worshiping in Memphis.
But what I want to share today are some thoughts about letting your love grow cold. When we think of “cold” we think of lacking warmth, being lethargic and apathetic. As I have said previously, I don’t think the opposite of love is hate, as hate involves a focus on the other person and also involves some passion. No, I think the opposite of love is apathy, not caring, no focus or attention on the other person.
I think we can all agree that we all want Good Love, and to turn Good Love into Better Love. And we would probably all agree that love growing cold would include a lack of ardor, a lack of intensity and warmth, a lack of zeal and passion. My best friend Juan summed up the love growing cold that leads to a divorce as “boredom.”
So how do we keep the spark, and the flame, in our love – make it warm, maybe hot? I’ve shared what I would say are many of the secrets – express gratitude, give encouragement, be a giver more than a taker, and that the key ingredients of love include humor, forgiveness, and honesty, which I paralleled to passion, commitment, and intimacy in Sternberg’s love triangle. But I stick by what I shared on the key and the secret to Good Love – the key is to take two steps forward for every step backwards, and the secret is to give and share forgiveness.
But I also reflect on the deeper message of Sara’s songs. The song I mentioned earlier, has these words before those of the clip –
We were pressed on every side
Full of fear and troubled thoughts
For good reason we carried heavy hearts
And those also resonate with me as I remember sharing personal dramas, trials, and tribulations. But the main line of the song is “Christ (is) our joy and strength” – which says that with a relationship with Christ, we find joy and strength, to face fears, troubled thoughts, and heavy hearts. And then, For good reason, joy is in our hearts. That’s what I want – my heavy heart to be filled with hope and joy.
That same night at Springfest, Sara sang another song that resonated with me, and prompted this post to my blog. She shared that her grandfather (I think) had a heart attack while overseas and knew he was not going to make it home, to see his loved ones again. He wrote on a 3 x 5 card what he wanted to be his last words to his kids. And Sara shared a song that night expressing what she wants her boys to most take to heart as her instruction to them – not “don’t burp at the table” – but “don’t let your love grow cold.”
The title of the song is Song For My Sons, which is her 3 x 5 card, and although I didn’t ask her afterwards when we spoke, I am sure she is referring to Matt. 24:12 – Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. Now in this case, the increase in wickedness referred to the cruelty of the Jews and Romans as they persecuted Christians, along with the false prophets, the fact that many had a fear of death for their beliefs. All this would cause many Christians to loose their enthusiasm and zeal for their faith – and their love of Christ to grow cold.
None of us would want any of our children who are followers of Christ to loose their passion in their faith. But in addition to that, I submit that what I want for all my children, whether or not they are followers of Christ, is to find a person to love and commit to, to share Good and Better Love with, to both be givers to each other, to be grateful to and encourage each other, and to share many many laughs together. And what’s more, that when they find something they think meets that description, they work to keep the spark and flame alive, for many years – that they don’t let their love grow cold. That’s my 3 x 5 card to each of them.
But what about you? Are you caught up in give and take? Or are you ready to give up? Maybe it seems that the eagerness of a partner in an affair would be better than the meager response to duty you feel you get? Or maybe you think you’d be better going through divorce and starting over with a new partner? Maybe you’ve even arrived at the point there seems there is no hope or joy – only misery – its no use.
The Best Love is God’s Love. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. (I John 3:16) A personal relationship with Christ provides a source not only for hope and joy in the relationship with Him, but in our relationships with others, especially our spouses.
The whole song, Joy Is In Our Hearts, from June 26, 2011 at Bellevue is here –
If you’re interested in seeing the whole service from June 26, 2011, it is here. I’ll add a page to those listed in the sunset picture, of the frustrations of hours and hours of getting these video clips on this page.