“Let me call you sweetheart.
I’m in love with you.
Let me hear you whisper
That you love me, too.
Standing by my front door, Cecil asked, “May I call you sweetheart?”
“NO!” I replied. “I’m not your sweetheart. I’m not anyone’s sweetheart.”
At the age of seventy-six, I had long since given up on the idea of romance and everything it implied.
“But,” he said. “I think I am falling in love with you.”
That scared me to death. I didn’t love him. Sometimes I didn’t even like him. Though we had been acquainted for twenty-two years, I didn’t really know him.
“Cecil,” I said as gently as I knew how. “You don’t want you to love me. I have been alone too long. I am selfish and stubborn. I’m extremely opinionated, and I talk too much.”
Love is complicated. It is incomprehensible, unexplainable, and at times, unreasonable. It is miraculous and mysterious. That’s what I think. Webster doesn’t explain it much better than I do. He says, “Love is affection and devotion and unselfish concern for another.”
Songwriters and movie moguls paint love with a broad, glittering brush. They sing:
“Love is a many splendor thing.
It’s the April rose that only grows
In the early spring.”
That kind of love is exciting and sentimental, but like the April rose, it can also be fragile and fleeting. It is amazing how quickly today’s society exchanges one love for another, like an unwanted Christmas gift. I’m convinced that love is so much more than that—more than a feeling—more than a physical attraction.
I’m glad Cecil didn’t give up on me. I did fall in love with him. Why? Why did I love him? Oh, I can make a list of reasons. He was cute, funny, gentle and kind. He was smart and unafraid of hard work. He loved the Lord, and the list goes on.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who gave us, perhaps, the world’s best-known love poem, wrote:
“How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways…
I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears of all my life…
And, if God choose, I shall love thee better after death.”
Though her words are an emotional declaration of love, still they do not tap its true essence.
An old western song comes closer to explaining love’s reason. Jim Reeves sang:
I love you for a hundred thousand reasons.
But, most of all I love you ‘cause you’re you!
Because you are you! There are millions of men out there who are cute, and funny. Why didn’t I love one of them? Because he wasn’t Cecil!
You! I love you—the sum total of who you are—more than your curly white hair and infectious grin. I think that is what is meant by “soul.” The soul is man’s moral and emotional nature. It is the quality in him that elicits genuine love—not lust!
What can I say? My soul and Cecil’s soul reached out and entangled themselves with each other. Our souls were knit together. That’s the unexplainable aspect of love. Have you ever been guilty of asking, “What in the world does she see in him?” That beggars the question, “What in the world did God see in me.
Psalms 139:13 – 16 tells me that from before I was ever a twinkle in my daddy’s eyes, God knew me. He formed me in my mother’s womb. He knew exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculptured from nothing into something. His soul was knit with mine. He made provision for my redemption and plans for every day of my life. Do I deserve it? NO! But still, GOD LOVES ME!
Love may be a “many splendored thing,” and it may be like an April rose. Yes, the beauty and the sweet fragrance of love are to be cherished but love best shows up in our unselfish attitudes and actions.
Notice that I Corinthians 13:4 – 8 (The Message) defines love in a very practical sense.
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head;
Doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best,
Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
Love never dies…never fails.”
I hope I loved Cecil that way. I know that’s the way God loves you and me. Try it. It works!
THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW