Please allow me to start this week with a discussion of a type of lighting system used to guide pilots to a runway for their landing, and a description of some of my work in Memphis this past year. Then I will relate it all to Good Love. Here is a video from the cockpit of a landing in bad weather at night.
The pilot depends on the special lights to guide him to the runway, so that he can make a safe landing. In the video, the first lights the pilot sees, the yellow or white ones in a line to the runway are approach lights. The actual threshold of the runway is represented by that line of green lights he flies over just before touching down. The lights that are on the runway, and on the taxiways, are maintained by the airport authority. But the approach lights are installed and maintained by the FAA.
I installed a new control system for five approach lighting systems there at Memphis. They are called MALSR’s (Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System With Runway Alignment Indicator Lights). These have three intensities, low, medium, and high. You might think that you just turn a switch to give a voltage to either the low or the medium or the high connections to the lighting system. But the signals are actually cumulative. For low, there is voltage just on low, but then for medium there is voltage on both low and medium. Then for high, there is voltage on all three controls.
Well I view Good, Better, Best Love like that, it is cumulative. We have to start with Good Love, something that is actually love, that we can share with another person. We don’t just decide to turn on Better Love with someone, we add to Good Love with gratitude and encouragement, sharing humor and honesty, willing to forgive. But when we want the most intense love, Best Love, we plug into the juice and power of God’s Love. We recognize the demonstration of God;s Love, His Son, who is the Light of the world.
When we are in our darkest, foggiest moments, when we just want to land and be safe and secure on firm ground, we must look for the lights, go towards the light. And the light that that can guide us to safety, to security, is Good, Better, Best Love. When pilots are learning to fly by instruments, for the times they can’t see outside the plane’s windshield, they put on hoods that allow them to see the plane’s instruments and nothing else. The instructor is there next to them, but all they can see are the instruments they have to trust and rely on. And the student must learn to trust the instruments. If they cannot see the horizon outside the plane, the feelings and sensations they have can easily mislead them into thinking they are flying level, or even going up, when in fact they are heading for a crash into the ground.
I’ve said before that Bad, Worse, Worst Love, the false love of lies and abuse, is not really love. It is a counterfeit love that fools or tricks some. False love, just like other crutches such as alcohol or drugs, appear like approach lights to a person blinded by the circumstances and problems of life, in a fog looking for direction. The problem is even worse because we are blinded by our deceitful hearts.
First we have to recognize that we are in trouble, that we cannot see. Then we have to look for the right lights. The runway approach lights are brighter and have a pattern to enable the pilot to recognize them for what they are. He doesn’t want to pick out just any light to fly towards. Good, Better, Best Love puts the other person and their welfare first. That is in contrast to Bad, Worse, Worst Love, which only looks out for self, and what they can take. (We’ve discussed givers and takers too.)
This week as I type this, I am on a youth mission trip. The kids have spent the last three days in 100 degree heat painting a house for a woman. There are lots of youth here, and there were 23 different projects, from painting to replacing roofs to constructing handicap ramps. It is encouraging to see so many youth not only willing to sacrifice to help others, but who are looking towards the right lights. The book The Principle of the Path (see my recommended resources page at top) has a story about piloting a boat at night, following another boat with a single flashlight. It worked well until approaching land, with many other lights calling for attention and focus. I see hope – hope this youth will pick the right paths when they have to make a choice and a decision. Hope they will always recognize the real lights that lead them to a safe harbor and a safe landing – the lights of who really loves them and really cares for them and wants the best for them.
My first give light post was on a 1775 silver medallion and a bronze 1874 medalion from Spain, with the motto Give Light – Always Faithful. There are pictures of the medallions too – here. My second post on give light talked about how we can give light, and watching out for emotional vampires – here.