We have a set of these Christmas lights up year round in our kitchen.
Originally, we kept them up because the boys birthdays are soon after Christmas. Eventually, they stayed because they added color and life to the room….
Or maybe because we just forgot about them.
And because it felt nice not to struggle with extracting one more set of tangled up lights from the box each year.
Of course they’ve been up there for three years now (maybe more), and we hardly ever turn them on. But for awhile, when the boys were smaller, we did turn them on to brighten up their breakfast or their snack time.
What I didn’t anticipate was the constant battle that ensued with those lights. They liked the lights so, of course, when I forgot to turn them on, they’d “help”.
One pair of little hands would struggle to plug them in when I wasn’t looking. Then, a second pair would rush over to pull them back out because “I wanna plug in!” Despite the safety latches on the outlets, I’m sure we came close to disaster a couple times as the three boys fought over that stupid string of forgotten Christmas lights.
They were trying to give a little joy, show a little love in their own way. But instead it looked a little more like chaos.
Often love looks a little more like chaos than perfection, doesn’t it?
It’s a little more like a struggle.
I found this quote by Fred Rogers this morning that reminded me about this facet of love. He said: “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”
Some days I struggle to accept those in my life as they are presented to me in the here and now. I struggle with the complex ways they need to be shown love – ways that are often different than my own.
I’m guessing you do too.
So this morning, my prayer is for our hearts to be opened to this greater definition of love.. one that calls us to love one another as God loves us… exactly as we are.
Lord help us appreciate the struggle.