My command to you is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. ~Mother Teresa
During their teen and early adult years, my mother and her sister have many friends who love to hang out at their house. And, it's not for the sake of their company alone. It's to spend time with their mother, Gladys, my Nana, for hours on end.
Crowded at her kitchen table lit by one cozy lamp, the girls chatter or giggle or cry with abandon. Nana listens to it all with interest and empathy. Never in judgment. Accepting each girl for who she is and where she is in the moment. Loving each one unconditionally.
Loving until it hurts . . .
And, especially for the girls who have a difficult time talking to their own mothers, Nana is a God-send. No matter what news they bring to her or questions they need answered, they know that Nana will genuinely listen and answer truthfully, knowledgeably, and with kindness.
Mom often recounts one of her favorite stories of a gathering at Nana's table. Her friends are all in their twenties, and many are married with children or have babies on the way. They are sharing stories and laughter and coffee when Barbara, one of Mom's best friends, takes a turn toward the serious.
"Tell us, Gladys," she says, "you raised three children. What advice would you give to us about raising our own?"
The kitchen is silent. All eyes are on Nana. All ears yearn for her words of wisdom.
Nana looks at each of them, smiles, and states matter-of-factly, "Teach them right from wrong, and love them to death."
"I remember thinking at the time," my mother tells me, "why couldn't she come up with a better answer than that? It seemed way too simple. Not advice at all, really. Then, I had you, and I realized this was the wisest advice my mother ever gave to anyone."
Will you love today until it hurts?
Will you join me in prayer?
We ask, Father, that You help us love one another as Christ loved us. Let us love until it hurts, until only love prevails. Even when it hurts so much, may we, like Gladys, always show love to others freely and unconditionally. Amen.