50 Shades Away. A Letter to My Son About Love

So maybe we won’t have all of this conversation today (He’s just 5). But we do talk like this about Love.

Just so you know, I love your mom. I mean I LOVE her. That word is so hard to grasp sometimes. We use it for everything from the newest video game to the pizza we ate last night. So when I say love, I mean I treasure your mom. She is precious to me. And when I say that I’m not saying that I “posses” her or have a right to her in any other way than she posses me or has a right to me. The ring on my finger says that I’ve committed to her, I belong to her. It affects my decisions, my leadership, my actions, my everything because we are in this together.

Love is more than something that is just emotional. Because I love your mom I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions. Some of them we’ve shared like the joy of exploring new places or the deep happiness when you and your sister were first brought into this world. Some of them were reactionary like the deep empathy for pain I experienced when your mother was in the middle of giving birth to your sister (no pain meds). I scared myself with how angry I got one time when someone insulted your mother’s character and another time when someone stole her purse. To be fair we’ve been mad at each other too but have almost always found a way to reconcile before we went to sleep.

To be sure, love is physical, but not always in the way you might expect. It’s holding hair back while your loved one vomits. It’s coming home from work early to clean up vomit. It’s a trip to the drug store to pick up medicine. It’s rocking a sick child in the middle of the night so she can get some sleep. It’s fixing a car. It’s doing the dishes. It’s working hard at a job so you can spend your paycheck helping to put a roof over your heads and food on the table. It’s a deep hug that says “I will never let go of you” at the moment when it feels like the world just changed. It’s a holding a hand at the right moment to say, “I’m with you no matter what” (not just at the movies). It’s a sweet little kiss on the cheek every day. Then inside of marriage there is the gift of sex. It’s a physical expression that no one else shares. And just like everything else with love, it is an act of giving. 

You see love is sacrifice. It is commitment. It is work, but above all it is giving. If you want to really experience love one day. Work hard, stay out of debt, and practice extreme generosity. We never love perfect people (though your mother gets closer to perfection every day) and we never love perfectly (hopefully I’m getting better at this too).  So keep short accounts, be quick to forgive, and never hold grudges. Be the first to believe the best about others and the last one to believe the worst.

Above all, honor the women in your life, especially your mother and sister. They are not objects, they are holy creatures made in the image of God and deeply worthy of honor.

1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 5, Song of Solomon

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Got Any Great Ideas for Christmas? (Enter for a chance to win a free book)

I’m looking for ways to make a difference in the world, both where I live and in places that I have never been.  Today, I’m fasting with our students and giving money to a project to build a well for an orphanage on the other side of the world.  Later this month we’ll be participating in a Thanksgiving event where we will donate money to help out people that come to our church with legitimate needs.  Around Christmas time, I’m always looking for ways to take the consumerism out of Christmas and teach my children to give our time, effort, and money to those who have no way of repaying us.  However, I’m not creative and I need your help with some ideas.

So here is my idea… Help me create a list of ways to reach out to our neighbors, bless our friends, and encourage others this Thanksgiving – Christmas season.  How does your family take the focus off getting gifts and put it back on giving to others?  What ideas have you heard of?

Share them in the comment section here and as a way of saying thanks (to at least one of you)  in two weeks (Friday, November 19, 2010) I’ll pick a winner from the comments at random.  The winner will get a free copy of Max Lucado’s book “Out Live Your Life.” (*provided I can mail you the book to an address in the continental US or Canada). If you have more than one idea, that’s totally cool and will increase your chances of winning the copy of Max’s book.  I look forward to hearing your ideas.