Tuesday morning was a bit rough in the Brock house. Monday night, we both woke up around 3:00 AM and spent the remainder of the morning tossing back and forth, unable to fall asleep. But magically, minutes AFTER our alarm went off, we both fell sound asleep and overslept the alarm by an hour and a half.
When we finally made it out of bed, Rich discovered that there was no hot water coming out of the shower. He checked the thermostat and saw that our house was a cozy 56 degrees. Our oil heater had a run dry overnight, leaving us with a freezing house. It was an awesome bonus to what had already been a wonderful start to the morning (hopefully, you are catching my sarcasm).
On top of it all, I had guests coming over at 10 Am. It would be one thing for me to freeze inside our house but quite another for a guest (and her baby) to be cold.
I’d love to say I conducted myself with great poise and assurance, but the truth is that the combination of little sleep, a cold house, pregnancy hormones, and unforeseen stress was more than I could handle on this particular Tuesday morning.
While I ran around the house cleaning and figuring out how to optimize our space heater, Rich worked on getting the oil tank filled. I looked out the kitchen window and saw my South African husband standing outside in his down jacket, calling various oil companies to get the best price to fill our tank.
Three-and-half-years earlier, he had neither owned a winter coat nor had he seen snow. To my knowledge, living in a place where there are long, cold winters was never a part of his life plan. And yet there he was standing in the cold, in his winter coat, taking care of me.
I watched my husband, in spite of my crankiness, put my needs above his own. In the moment, no words were said, no feelings expressed, but I felt very loved. He didn’t complain about how cold and long the winters are in Pennsylvania, he didn’t leave me to handle the problem on my own, and he didn’t get angry that he was being made late for work.
1 John 3:18 says, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
Love is a word that is chronically overused and tragically misunderstood in our culture. We’ve confused “love” with emotions, feelings, and words. We are quick to say we have love for others but slow to act on our good intentions. Often, our words and actions are in complete contradiction with one another. This should not be so, particularly for those of us who claim to follow Christ.
Of course, we will all have times when we will fail to show love. But may we be those who strive not after prestige, position, knowledge, or articulate speech, but instead seek to live out this idea of 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.” – 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Later on Tuesday, when Rich told me he loved me, his words had authority because of the truth of his actions. Had he been mean, rude, and selfish that morning, saying, “I love you” later in the day would have meant very little.
The prose of love is easy to speak; the road of love is hard to walk. Our actions will speak more to the condition of our hearts than our words ever will. May we be those who are known by our acts of love and self-sacrifice so that our words may have authority and meaning. For, “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” – 1 Corinthians 13:8