Today, love looks different. Yesterday, love looked like you would expect love to look. It looked like shared laughter and similar experiences. It looked like mutually beneficial relationships. It looked fun and romantic. It looked easy. Today, it looks like struggle and sacrifice.
I got the text “he died.” That was all it said, and I hit the ground. Shaking and trying desperately to wrap my mind around the fact that he was gone. My friend was gone. I sobbed and I prayed. Today, I was breaking but love demonstrated itself in ways that have never been more difficult. I took a call from my best friend who was in the midst of his own loss, and I told him jokes and never mentioned my pain. Truly, “even in laughter the heart may ache” (Proverbs 14:13, ESV). I prayed silently that he wouldn’t hear my heart breaking. Love looks today like putting my own pain aside to help others.
I squared my shoulders back and wiped my eyes with the hem of my shirt and proceeded to work with clients, giving them my best – even though what I wanted to do was go home and throw up over and over again. I would get busy in increments of seconds and then, like being thrown into a frigid cold lake, I would remember again. I would remember that he is gone. How can he be gone?
I had just seen him laughing on my back porch. Wasn’t he just making me laugh? It didn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem real. I am heartbroken. Today, love looks like grieving with his family. It looks like praying for his fiancé and holding his best friend’s hand as his life is condensed respectfully into an hour of heart wrenching and healing remembrance. It looks like keeping it together for them.
I’m not advocating for hiding your feelings, but I am expressing that today love looks like laying aside my own feelings to serve others. I am grateful and humbled that when it is appropriate to share my feelings that I have been blessed with friends and family who will lay aside their own struggles to support me in the midst of mine. Today, love doesn’t look like that. Today, love has never been more sincere or more difficult.
We live moment to moment and maybe in loving our neighbors, that is to encourage and empower them, is simply best exemplified by being present – being present to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). The love poured out from one life to another illustrates the essence of the gospel. We love because “He first loved us” (1 John 4:19) and perhaps there is nothing sweeter nor more sacrificial than the way love looks today.