Since moving here three months ago, both my in-laws and my own parents have been here to visit. Twice each, in fact. Now, please understand that this isn’t a half hour drive. We are 1750 miles and 1300 miles away from them, respectively. So coming here is no small task. It requires either a two to three day drive or an airplane flight. Depending on circumstances, there may be a rental car and hotel stay involved. It requires planning ahead and making arrangements for being away, sometimes even getting off work and losing income while one is away. It’s not at all convenient, and it’s expensive. But both our families have already made the trip twice, and my dear friend, who has a broken leg, just made the trip with her family, braving bad weather and treacherous roads to serve as godparents for our newest child’s baptism. So of course the question is why? Why would anyone go to such lengths and spend so much money just for a couple days or a week-long trip? And as anyone who has made such arrangements before can tell you, the answer is really quite simple. The answer is love.
Never have people spoken as much about love as they do in our own time. “Love” has now become a catchword that is employed both by those who want to be Christians and by those who want nothing whatsoever to do with the faith.
But what do many Christians mean when they employ the term “love?” Above all, they understand it to mean this: As a person expresses himself in matters of faith, he should show himself tolerant, that is, long-suffering, lenient, and easygoing. He should not take purity of doctrine as seriously and rebuke deviation from God’s Word as sharply as in the earlier years of the Church. He should also regard as dear brothers those who accept some main articles of faith but do not wish to subject themselves to the Word of God in all things.
The movie The Vow is based on a true story where a wife loses her memory after a car accident and can’t even recognize her own husband. Rather than letting her go, the husband works to win back her love. It’s an inspiring story, one that makes women swoon to see the husband go to such lengths to win her back. We like these kind of stories, because secretly we’d all like to be that valuable in someone’s eyes. We’d love to have someone go to all that trouble to win our affections. But the fact is that someone has gone to incredible lengths to win you back. That Someone, of course, is Jesus.
My 8-year old has empty nest syndrome. Yes, you read that correctly. And I mean that in a rather literal sense. You see, those four hatched baby robins I mentioned just two weeks ago in Signs of Spring are gone already. The birds grew quickly, and the last one just flew away on Saturday. We had a special vantage point for that nest. We could sit at our kitchen table and peek out the window to see the nest from behind. We could watch it in safety without scaring the mother away, and we built a little bond with those birds. We got excited when she laid her eggs. We were even more excited when they hatched. We could see the mother bring worms and watch the babies’ scrawny little beaks reach up to grab their food. We watched as they got bigger and the nest became more crowded. The first one left as early as this past Tuesday. We found him on the patio and walked far around so as not to disturb him or leave our scent on him. We watched to see if he was hurt or just waiting, and soon enough, he flew away on his own. Then we watched as the others got bolder and started inching out along the drainpipe, flapping their wings as they still sat in safety. Then finally on Saturday, the last one got his courage and flew across the yard to the forsythia bush. We all cheered. It was a thrilling moment. And then it hit us- they’re gone. Our 8-year old started to cry, and I’m not gonna lie to ya, I was a bit teary-eyed myself. The nest is empty now; abandoned. It’s a lonely feeling. And those birds provided us with a microcosm of life.