If I were to start a new magazine, it would have a title of something like "Home & Coffee: bringing out the best in the cozy warm aromatic parts of your life". Something like that. Being gone for two weeks, the first thing I did after laying down my bags and kicking off my work duds Friday night was to fix a cup of coffee. Our Keurig is such a cool piece of kitchenry, and I missed it each evening in a hotel room without.
Being away, for me at least, makes me more introverted, more introspective, quieter, more pensive. It’s not that there’s any more weight on my mind. If anything, it’s more that the existing thoughts have more free time to roam around, to wander over the cranial pastures and chew their own cud for a time. I’ve had time to sit and think, think and sit, to ponder the complexities of life, the universe and everything. And the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. "All you need is love".
It’s the full-blown emotional and relational aspect of real love that makes any real difference in this world. How do we miss this? We lean one way towards rules, or towards duty-bound beliefs, or towards right responses to right question. Or we lean too far the other way towards wishy-washy sentimentalism, or towards anger and fear and demagoguery that steals real joy and replaces it with delusional chaff. Somewhere in the middle, where relationship and reason live together, where we follow God with all our mind and all our heart and all out strength – somewhere in there is real love.
And I just think it’s getting harder and harder to find it in the places where it, honestly, should be the easiest to find. I see it at home, within my family, as we grow and learn and change and encourage and challenge each other, back and forth and through it all together. It is at home that I think I am seeing it most fully, most convincingly. But I don’t see it as much in church settings. I see some, but it doesn’t seem to be permeating the core of who we’re supposed to be as the bride of Christ. I see some at work, too, especially on teams and in projects that take some real trust and teamwork, but there, too, it’s not always so evident across certain lines, between different areas. I don’t see any at the national level, and that frightens me – politically there’s a place for real love, but it’s so dangerous that no one seems able or willing to take up the whole thing.
I hope it’s easier to see in me, wanting to act out of real love, wanting to show real love beyond the expectations of others. And by "real love", I mean something that’s not the norm, something that needs the little tick marks, using your fingers to make the quotations in the air when you say it – "real love". Because we know what there is to the love we see, and we know it doesn’t measure up to the love we want to see, to live, to feel, to participate in.
Like a good cup of coffee – real love will permeate everything, will take place in each of the senses, will make itself known in myriad ways. And like a good cup of coffee, I wish I could have another.