Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Week of Love...Loving the Loveless

          "Another day as I was walking down the dreary corridors of the state hospital with the familiar odors of urine and sweat penatrating every nook and cranny, I heard the familar sound of dragging feet. I had the distinct feeling that I was being followed. So I stepped up my pace to see if the one who I thought was following me would do the same. He did. The message was clear; whoever it was wanted to catch up with me. So I gave him the chance by slowing my pace.
          In a matter of seconds someone reached out and took hold of my hand. That's what the chase was was all about, someone just wanted to hold my hand. But when I turned and saw who or what it was that was holding my hand, my first response was to snap my hand from his tenacious grip. Here was perhaps one of the ugliest portions of humanity I have ever seen. From the top of his bald head to the bottom of his bare feet, there stood a lad about 15 years old, covered from head to foot with enourmous welts the smallest being the size of a half dollar. He was so disfigured I could hardly stand to look at him. It took all the strength I had in my body to just let him hold my hand.
          He made no other demands, he couldn't he was mute. He just wanted to hold someone's hand, and, at that moment, that someone was me. Then I thought to myself, "Yes, how easy it is to love the beautiful, the talented, the handsome, the dexterous athlete, the popular person, or the pleasing person- but how difficult and almost impossible- to love those who need it the most, such as the ugly, the untalented, the shy, the slow learner, and the disfigured." How cheap and unreal our love has become, because for the most part we have continued to give it to those who really don't need it, and likewise we have withheld our love from those who have reached out to us in quiet desperation, hoping and praying with an inner rage that we would be the one who would hold their hand.
         Let me illustrate this with a story. A man recently visited a home where there were five children. He was supposed to be  a kind of godfather to them and was trying to get involved with them on their level. He asked one of the little girls about her doll collection: " Which one is your favorite?" She answered, "Promise you won't laugh if I tell you." "No I won't laugh," he said. She went into the next room and brought back a doll that was the most tattered, dilapidated, worn-out doll he had ever seen. A real refugee from the trash heap. All the hair was missing, and the nose was broken off and an arm was cracked. He didn't laugh, but he couldn't cover his surprise. He said to her, "Why do you love this one the most?" The little girl replied, "Because she needs it most. If I din't love her, nobody would."
          Jesus said that God is like that. God is loving us most when we need it most. So we ought to take a lesson from this and enrich our love by loving those who need it the most, instead of loving those who in someway please us the most.