Sometimes it seems like the world is on fire. With very little effort, we are able to find negativity, a troubled world, and what seem to be new miseries. But, with all confidence, I would like to assure you, there is a love.
This love is not begging to be noticed, and it rarely pronounces itself before entering a room. This love lives in the silence of a sunrise and the crackling of a winter’s fire.
Love, the one of which I write, is often found in laughter. Not the laughter generated at the expense of others, but in children giggling as butterflies tickle their nose.
It is quiet, but strong. Not weak, but kind. It may be fierce at times and also subdued.
You may not even notice it breathing life into your lungs. You may easily exchange the knowing of its depth for a simple complaint.
When love calls and beckons to us, we have but one response. Fear the unknown or trust the flow of love.
Below is a story of why I know this is true.
Basketball proved to me that there is a love. There are a lot of examples of love in my life. Some people accuse me of being too carefree and not mature enough.
Well meaning friends and family advise that I worry more about important things. So many things to worry over.
Before my graduation from university, I traveled to Lusaka, in Zambia. There were a lot of us. We played basketball in exhibition games.
One of those games benefited famine relief.
Tickets were sold to those around the UNZA (University of Zambia) campus and the monies were used to fund famine relief. All of the money for my trip, to and from another continent, was spent to buy tickets.
All Around the World
There were a lot of tickets. There were also a lot of homes around the campus. Where there are homes, there are kids, and where there are kids, there are families.
While my team was warming up, I walked through the streets around the arena and invited people to the game. No reason. Just a game of basketball.
One family invited me into their apartment for a brief conversation. We spoke of our countries and the world. We agreed, that indeed, there is a love.
If you take a minute to speak with your neighbor, or even someone far away, you will be tempted to assume that this love is for everyone.
It is for everyone. It just is.
I have seen love in a daisy and in a mountain stream, and also in the eyes of the living and dying. I have seen this love in times of war and in times of peace. But this is not why I know there is a love.
Just like Jack and the Beanstalk, my parents gave me money to make it back home, and I bought magic beans. The month of eating at the tables of missionaries and generous hosts had ended.
I did have a plane ticket. I had forgotten about my three day layover in London.
London seems nice, but nowhere is as nice if you are homeless. Even if just for three days.
My first night was spent with a friend from my school, who happened to be there for business. The other two were spent near Wimbledon, with the aunt and uncle of a girl I eventually married.
And that is about it.
Love made a way.
Two years latter I was divorced, and I lost all contact with the friends I had made, in Zambia and America. No kidding.
It is not a fairy tale ending. Life rarely has a fairy tale ending, or even a fairy tale story.
There have been bright days, and dark days. Sometimes I feel bliss and sometimes I wonder if I am crazy. All of the miracles of life, and my appreciation for them, ebb and flow like the tides of an ocean.
Immediately upon my safe return home, I noticed my view of the world change. It was not that there were more beautiful places elsewhere, it was that most everywhere is a beautiful place.
I appreciated the people I met, but it made me appreciate the people I already knew. Here, was made better, for being there.
Life has carried me to other places, and I always come home. What has made the difference for me, is when I go there, I make it here, as quickly as possible.
I do not long for Cincinnati, when I am in Miami. Also, I do not long to read a book, when I am doing the dishes.
Of course, I have aspirations and desires, but also I am content and grateful for a life lived until now. I think I have value to add to the world, but also I am interested in what value others bring.
One of the only things I have learned for certain, is that there is a love. What it looks like and what it creates in the world is so often up to those that receive, perceive, and offer that love.
Love does not need you to exist… but you need to see it to believe it exists. Here is some advice. Look for it.
Especially when others, or your circumstances, make it seem like it was never there.
I made it home. Every time.
Life is about basketball, and friends, and relationships. It is also about flowers, and children, and mountain streams.
In my mind I travel back to some of those African evenings and I am grateful for so many things. Mostly, for the way love reveals itself to those who are interested in experiencing nothing short of heaven here on earth.