We stop to read the sign. Restricted. He's tempted. I am not. My people-pleasing fear will always win out over any curiosity. So I look behind me at the simple, wooden bridge we just crossed. The burbling of the creek is the only sound in the woods on a Wednesday. The way late winter sun looks through still bare trees has always fascinated me. The light has a different quality every season. The light slices into soft stripes that calmly settle on to the bridge.
And it hits me that maybe real love is like light in a forest. Maybe it's because I'm not a desert person. But I am captured by how obstacles -trees, hills, boulders, running water, and the like - make the most beautiful patterns of light. There's a passage in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) that says love is patient and kind. It's not envious, boastful, or proud. It isn't bitter, resentful, or self-seeking. Love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things.
If that doesn't sound like a forest of obstacles, then I don't know what does. But when love shines through? Man, is it beautiful. Inspiring. That's when a heart changes, a family changes, a community changes.
No matter where we are in our imperfect spiritual journeys, may we all have the courage to ride into the forest where love might have a chance to shine.