"I can't commit to that!" Luke was incredulous Cami had even asked. "I was MADE for this!" He patted the hood.
Cami slowly drew a breath. "Think of it like this. It's essentially just a tool for getting you to the places...and people...that matter."
Luke shook his head. "But it's a thing of beauty. The unique curves, the extra storage, the electric capability."
"So...you're just going to drive around? To nowhere?"
"Duh?" Luke reverted to his old teenage response, tired of this unenlightened conversation. He was eager to get back behind the wheel of his new truck where he belonged.
"But the kids really like you. I think you would make a huge difference with just two hours of your time each week." Cami struggled to hide her mounting frustration.
But Luke was firm. "No. My time is too precious to waste it on something so needy. Besides, I'm really good at driving. My latest road trip almost blew up Instagram."
Just A Tool
I know, this story is ridiculous. But I don't think it's too out of left field these days.
Our culture prioritizes appearances and money-making, preferably using our natural skill set. We are encouraged to disassociate from, leave, uncouple from, or even abort, people who stand in the way of how we envision reaching our truest potential.
It's akin to being so obsessed with your hammer or impact driver that you forget the whole point is the object you're building. And not even that! It's to make something that fulfills a need or simply brings enjoyment to an actual person.
It's not about the tool.
I have to continually be reminded of this as a writer with a spouse & kids. If I could spend my days making music and writing and driving wherever I felt like...wow. But I know from experience - from completely self-focused days that should have produced EXTREME HAPPINESS - that I don't really grow or mature or produce anything really worthwhile. And at the end of the day, to my SHEER ANNOYANCE, I'm not nearly as joyful as I expected to be.
Blah, Blah, Blah
When's the last time you heard 1 Corinthians 13 - the definition of love - read at a wedding? Even if it was recently, it's worth reading again. It's short, but blows my mind every time.
If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Without love, my talking, my writing, my insight, any stories I write or music I make is just...as annoying as a toddler banging some cymbals together. If I have the appearance of importance because of the spiritual matters I understand or can employ in changing things, but don't have love...I'm worthless. I can even be a martyr, appearing to everyone to be the holiest of holy people. But without love? It's all wasted.
So what is love?
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
We need people around to practice love. To learn love. To show love. Without people...what is there to be kind too (unless you're a psychopath, animals are not hard to be kind to)? What is there to resent? To bear? People are the most frustrating part of life. I hate that others' selfish decisions in their own lives STILL affect me, whether I like it or not.
THIS IS SO HARD. Real love isn't natural to us. Children literally deteriorate when left alone without loving direction, discipline, guidance, company, etc. Being selfish comes the most naturally. REAL LOVE IS INCREDIBLY HARD.
That's why this is the best part:
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Love Never Ends
Love is an eternal thing! Stuff that doesn't make sense from our tiny, little, vantage point on Earth in our particular place in history....WILL make sense when we're face to face with our Creator. Just like children, who begin life with complete faith and hope in their mother, and slowly learn how to be thoughtful and show love as they grow into an adult.
When the entire focus of our lives, regardless of the resulting circumstances, is learning how to love...we spend our lives doing something truly meaningful. Something that has always existed and will continue to exist.
Love Is Even Better Than Faith
Faith and hope are temporary. We can't see God's face or the even the next hour in time, so we need faith and hope. Even while pretending God doesn't exist, we still operate on faith that gravity will pull us back down when we do jumping jacks. We still hope that our family won't abandon us or our hard work will pay off.
But love. Love is needed now. And it'll still be needed when we're face to face with Love himself.
Choose love when society tells you to self-preserve above all else.
Choose love when church culture tells you appearing super spiritual by doing X,Y, & Z is the most important.
Choose love when taking care of your family is hard and society tells you it's a waste of time. Choose love when your neighbor needs help.
Choose love when the alarm goes off and you're planning your day.
The hardest things make the biggest impact.
Don't be Luke, who gave his life to a tool.