Love Even When We Are Unloveable

Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov penned this humorous poem:

“Tell me why the stars do shine,
Tell me why the ivy twines,
Tell me what makes skies so blue,
And I’ll tell you why I love you.

Nuclear fusion makes stars to shine,
Tropisms make the ivy twine,
Raleigh scattering make skies so blue,
Testicular hormones are why I love you.”

What happened to that poor man in the romance department? 

Actually, I suppose that what he lacks in inspiration he probably makes up for in accuracy. And accuracy is fine, but I like some mystery, too. I don’t want to analyze and dissect all of the wonder out of life.

There’s something mysterious about a pitch-black sky teeming with shining stars…something that causes my imagination to soar. And what about the mystery of nature? I can think of few things so thrilling as that sense of awe that explodes in my heart when I see a brilliantly blue sky over snow-capped mountain peaks. And the greatest mystery of all – love. What is more mysterious than a deep and almost perfect love felt between two otherwise imperfect people?

Love is mysterious. Robert Fulghum says, “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”

Perhaps love has many faces. The faces easiest to see are ones of infatuation and romance. We speak of “falling in love” and feel, too, as if we are in free fall. This is the face of love that inspires songs and poetry and romance novels.

But the face of love I appreciate most is not romance, as much as I am drawn to it, but one I can always count on to be there. It is the face of love that looks more like commitment or devotion – devotion of a parent for a child, or of couples who’ve lived and loved together for years.

This particular face of love is not a magnet that attracts two people to each other, but glue that holds them together for the long term. It is a face of love often seen on parents and grandparents and close friends who have been through good times and bad with one another.

I recall a story about a husband and wife who were engaged in a minor dinnertime disagreement. To the children’s amazement, their father jumped up from the table, grabbed two sheets of paper, and said to his wife, “Let’s make a list of everything we don’t like about each other.”

She agreed and proceeded to write. He, meanwhile, sat and glowered. She looked up and he began to write. 

They finally finished. “Let’s exchange complaints,” he said and they passed their lists across the table.

She glanced at his sheet and pleaded, “Give mine back!” All down his sheet he had written: “I love you, I love you, I love you.” I presume he gave the paper back, for their children remember that moment with humor and fondness.

As much as I enjoy romance, it’s commitment that I need the most. I need to know a love I can depend on, a love that says, “I will be with you through it all. I love you. And I will love you even when you may not be all that lovable, for sometimes I’m not very lovable either. You can count on me – always.” 

Maybe love is mysterious, but that kind of love is solid. Rock solid. And, of all the faces of love, it’s my favorite. 

And so, we pray: Lord, love is very mysterious, even when I have too much wife or she has too much husband… it is rock solid devotion and commitment. Thank you for being the inspiration and Spirit in the midst of it all. Amen.

Grace and Peace

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