By David Hegg
At some point it was inevitable that I would opine about love. I must confess that the urge had come up quite often but I’ve always been able to stifle it. The problem is that love isn’t what it used to be. Sure, we still sing that it makes the world go ’round, and will keep us together, and even that it is a many splendored thing. But the truth is love has fallen on tough times.
I suppose we could blame the decay of love on the generality of our English language. While it is common parlance to say I love the Dodgers, bowtie pasta, deep sunsets, my wife and my grandchildren, each of them holds a different amount of my heart. Unfortunately, the word “love” has become such a broad modifier that it is in danger of losing real meaning.
Our society’s erosion of the commitments included in love isn’t helping the situation. With apologies to the Captain and Tennille, love just doesn’t seem to be keeping us together much anymore. Divorce continues to decimate marriages and families. And those who decide to live together without marrying fare much worse according to every study out these days.
Love also seems to be fraying in the political realm, where acrimony and insult are common these days, while loving our neighbors seems like something reserved for times of community tragedy. Apparently, we’re pretty good when things are really bad, but the common courtesies and friendliness that once were woven through our society are unraveling. Sad to say, I find myself pleasantly surprised to receive a “please,” “thank you,” or “excuse me” these days. Love, even at the everyday level, is on the wane.
But, when you find love, it still knocks your socks off. If you are blessed enough to be truly loved, you know what I’m talking about. Those of us who daily find a vacation spot in the heart of someone else, be it spouse, child, or friend, have found that which makes life spectacular. Those who are loved — really and deeply loved unconditionally — understand that the one who has love and everything else really doesn’t have more than the one who has love.
This column will end up shorter than usual, and that is by design. It isn’t because I’ve run out of things to say, but rather to challenge you to do something radical. Find someone you love and let them know just how much they add to your life every day. Find them, hug them, kiss them if appropriate, and ask God to rejuvenate in your heart that wonderful, necessary and powerful sense of unconditional love. That’s it. The column is over, so put the paper down, and get to it. Only love that is tended, nourished, exercised and expressed will really keep us together.
Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.