Love is the Answer (so what’s the question?)

Christmas 03My son Blake tells me that he’s pretty sure we are all one consciousness.  The universe experiencing itself; a pulse experienced through different hardware.  He believes that unconditional love is the answer but what is the question?

He and I sometimes have these existential kinds of conversations.  What is the meaning of life? Is there a God?  Or is it all some elaborate myth?  Were we “created” or do we exist because of some cosmic happenstance?  Do we need God?  Does God need us?

It makes me think.  And wonder.  And pray.  And sometimes I wonder as I pray.

People behave badly.  We murder.  We rape.  We abuse children.  We discriminate based on religion, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.  We arm ourselves.  We build walls.  We exploit the most vulnerable amongst us.

Genesis tells us:  God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.  But if ‘God is love’ why is there so much un-Godlike behavior happening in our world.  If God made us in his (her) image why aren’t we loving one another?  Why aren’t we lifting one another up?  Why aren’t we caring for one another?

And then I crawl out of my hole and look around.  I see every little loving thing that my wife does each day for me and countless others.  I see my friends who have often lifted me up during times of heartache and self-doubt. I  realize that I am cared for not just by friends and family but by strangers who work for peace and justice in our world.

My grandson Noah asked me recently, “Pawpaw, do you know what zeal is?”  Before I could offer a definition he exclaimed, “It’s how God loves us and how God wants us to love others!”  And I realize then that we do!  We do love one another.  We do lift each other. We do care for one another.  Not always.  Not all of us.  Not often enough.  But we do!

And perhaps that’s the question – why not always; why not all of us; why not often enough?  Unconditional love is the answer.  God was once again revealed to me through my seven year-old grandson.  God is in the love we share; in the countless times that Noah has lifted me up from my gloominess and my self-pity; all the times that we have cared for one another.  Noah full of zeal!  Blake too has loved me and lifted me with his kindness; his sincerity; his goodwill.  These two (uncle and nephew) come from very different places – physically and spiritually but God is there – loving; lifting; caring.

Evil exists.  Bad things happen.  But that’s not the end of the story.  God has given us power over evil.  We just need to share the gift of Love.  Perhaps then others will ask the question – why not always?  why not all of us?  why not often enough?




Far From Home

Our son has made a career in the Air Force. Tyson loves the Air Force and he is exactly the kind of man who you would want safe guarding your freedom. He’s loyal. He’s brave. He’s dedicated. He’s a natural leader. He’s true-blue (actually he’s true-red, white and blue).

tyson11He recently left for a one-year, unaccompanied, remote assignment. Which means that he’s far away from home and his wife and daughters are left behind. Of course, there are worse jobs and there are tougher and more dangerous assignments but this is our son and it’s personal. And I’m feeling a little melancholy.

I know that he’ll be okay. I know that our daughter-in-law is strong enough and smart enough to make it on her own. She’ll keep the home fires burning. His two younger daughters are too young realize what a year without Daddy really means. I also know that Tyson will make friends and do his job well. Email and texting and video chats will help reduce the distance and hopefully will make the year pass quickly. And he will not be in harm’s way, as this is not a combat zone. He’ll receive cards and letters and care packages. So there is much for which to be thankful.

Still it’s hard not to worry. As I try to reassure him, I feel that my words sound hollow and contrite. I wish that I could be more comforting; more convincing; more articulate; more intelligent; more everything. But I realize that I’m also trying to reassure myself as I attempt to reassure him and I’m failing on both counts.

Today our grandson Noah (Ty’s five year-old nephew) said that God hears all our prayers, even the ones in our hearts. It’s amazing how kids evangelize. They bring the Gospel to us in the most simple yet profound ways.

GOD HEARS THE PRAYERS IN OUR HEARTS. Thank you Noah for helping me realize that I don’t need the words. I only need the love. And God hears it. And so will Tyson.