The Most Excellent Way: Loving in the Midst of Grief

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Last weekend, over the hum of a vacuum cleaner someone was using to sweep the floor of the auditorium at Cedar Ridge, I caught up with a friend. She congratulated me on my upcoming nuptials. As we talked, she emphasized to me how love has been a consistent thread in my life these last few years as I’ve healed from a divorce and rebuilt my life. I considered what she said, turning it over a bit. And then this week happened.
My friend’s words have been jingling around in my mind since Sunday afternoon. So for those of us who are grieving, let us remember that our grief should not keep us from loving.
And by loving I don’t just mean warm and fuzzies and eskimo kisses. I mean loving in the present participle sense–the kind of love that looks for and celebrates beauty, that passionately seeks justice and mercy, that continues to reach out to and love without hesitation the poor, the needy and the marginalized..
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation by my former pastor, Brian McLaren. Something he said also jingled around in my mind a bit and resonates even more following this election’s results. He spoke of how we Christians relegate the 1 Corinthians 13 chapter on love to weddings and so often miss the end of chapter 12, just before, where it reads, “and yet I will show you the most excellent way.”
The most excellent way is patient. It is kind. It does not envy or boast. It is not proud or dishonoring of others. The most excellent way is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. It lights up like the fourth of July with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love does not fail.
So whatever side you are on tonight, chances are you know and love someone on the other. What is one way, just one, you can reach out in love?
To love in the midst of grief is to exercise the resiliency of hope. To love another in the midst of theirs without a judgment call is an act of generosity.
Love yourself by shutting down your computer this evening and calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Love your mother, father, sister, husband, wife, partner and children by looking them in the eye and telling them so. Be kind. Be generous. Be hope-filled. Be love.
This is, after all, the most excellent way.

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