Thursday, July 31, 2014

Love Did, Love Does and Love Will Continue to Do

"That’s because love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does."

I’m the kind of girl who likes to indulge herself from head to toe in the works and words of others, allowing the stories to swallow me whole like waves in an ocean as I am surrounded by nothing but this journey I’ve been drawn into. Now there isn’t anything particularly wrong with this. Not as long as it’s healthy and not as long as the ocean you’re allowing yourself to dive into is made up of the right pieces of work that will change your life rather than distract you from your current life. I, myself, have a habit of unhealthy obsessing in worlds in which I am nothing but an audience to, often times allowing myself to choose these fantasy lives over my actual and current life. Which was why when I decided to come back to Hume Lake, I knew this was something I needed to take control of or rather find a much steadier and loving ocean to plunge myself into. I’ve been reading a book called Captivating written by Christian authors who skillfully define the heart and longings of a woman as the longings of God and that we are his image bearers. Within the first few pages they identify my cravings and obsessions as natural but wrong. That I’m trying desperately to fill a space in my heart and life with a fantasy world rather than that of a loving God who wants nothing more than to fulfill my longings and pursue me. This book essentially has changed my outlook on a lot of things and has beautifully reassured my madness and passion as something that God has made me for. For a majority of the summer I let this book consume my heart…that was until I made an order on Amazon and suddenly right in my hands were the complete DVD box sets of Doctor Who. I innocently lost track of my initial motive and was once again sucked into a fantasy world spending my hours locked inside, rather than participating with the beautiful people and environment God has led me to.

That’s why when my friend Eric mentioned a book he suggested I read. I immediately said yes as I found myself yearning for the book to be placed into my hands. Honestly, I vaguely remember him bringing it up in our long, deep conversation that took place as we prepared for the engagement of two of our friends. So much was said, so much was done, and so many stories were told that the quick mention of this book that had impacted his life whizzed right over my head. Until he reminded me about the book and it was then with that reminder and that instant craving for the book that I had admitted to myself that I’d been sucked into my unhealthy obsession again. I realized I had made my way through all of Season 1 of Full House and all of Season 8 of How I Met Your Mother in under two weeks. I needed waves of real life realization to push me back on to shore and just after reading the back of the book and the prologue I realized that this was the book that would be giving me that push. It wouldn’t be the book that pushed me to shore but it’d be one of the books that would push me to the waves of the gospel and the bible which are the ultimate life saving results. My faith and my romance with God would be what would put me to shore. Where I would stand as the strong, dependent woman that my path at Hume Lake has slowly been leading me to.

Anyway the night I left Eric’s house after he had given me the book I had decided to read it immediately. Unfortunately and mistakenly, I had taken my sleeping medication prior to actually reading the book which is titled “Love Does” which I learned was written by a vastly admired man purely because of the genuine love he has for many people. That was all of the information I gathered before I zonked out. Love Does did take me again the next early evening as I found an uncomfortable rock to sit upon and a blanket to keep myself warm with. I was invited to read witness to the journeys and the mental thoughts of Bob Goff as we sailed through his true life stories such as randomly deciding to move to Yosemite with an encouraging friend who invited himself, getting shot by his high school friend Doug who ultimately explained to him about Jesus, and even to the part where he decided he wanted to be a lawyer. And even though he failed the LSAT, he sat outside the Dean’s office for a week until the words he were waiting for were finally spoken and he was let in. Love Does is reiterated as the fact that love is more than a thought or a belief but it’s an action with results. I felt inspired as I put the book down and let out a sigh, admiring the beauty of God’s creation that surrounded me in the mountains of Hume Lake. Then I turned around and behind me were trees in the distance covered by a dusty, orange exterior that I knew must have been result of the sun setting but was a sight that I had never seen before. I felt the need to get a better look, to walk toward this beautiful sight as if walking toward it would lead me in the right direction. Now keep in mind, I was in the current mindset of Bob Goff as I did so but I went along with this, feeling triumphant with every step I made up the hill. It was then that I spotted a huge rock with a ladder resting upon it. Now I had learnt a few weeks ago whilst off-roading with my wagon train family that I am not the bravest and skillful rock climber. Fear had taken over and if it weren’t for the support and help from my friends, I wouldn’t have made it to the top of The Chicago Stump. So not only was I tempted by the fact that there was an unattended ladder straight in front of me…come on? How can you resist a ladder? I also found it amusing and coincidental that it was resting upon a very large rock. God was calling me saying, “Madison, climb this mossy rock so you can enjoy this view from a much higher point and don’t worry about the fact that your feet suck at rock climbing, I have left a ladder for you.” I didn’t even question it as I found myself running as I quickly went up the ladder and was standing tall and proud. The view was immensely better because when it comes to huge trees and five foot one me…the trees always win in blocking my view. The rock expanded my horizons literally as I was able to admire the view from a perspective I couldn’t from just down the hill. 

While I was standing on the rock I had realized that I left my book and blanket down on the previous smaller and uncomfortable rock. So I quickly ran down so I could bring them to my new epic spot. Usually I would be afraid of slipping or snakes or tripping over sticks (I do that too often) but all I could think about was Love Does and everything I was doing was out of love…love for exploring this new book given to me by a friend, love for my God who has provided me with such awestruck natural beauty, and love for the fact that I was doing something I normally wouldn’t do. Unfortunately, going up the ladder this time wasn’t enough to secure my position on the rock. I had thrown my blanket and the book up but my right foot was slipping down the rock and the ledge where I had put my left foot last time was occupied by my items. I felt myself slowly slipping as I tried my hardest to use my hands to grip onto the rock…there was nothing for me to grab onto. Fear was just about to take control as I came to realize my predicament wasn’t getting solved until miraculously, out of the bushes…literally, appeared Jive (Jonah), aka one of my Wagon Train family members. I was surprised and extremely grateful to see him. I must have looked ridiculous to him, frozen on the side of a rock just above a ladder and trying not to move…I had decided that not moving was my best bet because it meant not sliding. I don’t even know what he said as he emerged…probably something witty or joking but it didn’t matter because I calmly said, “I’m slowly falling…my shoes are making me slip” and right on cue my right foot started to slide and I focused my attention on the rock in front of me once again. Jive tried to help me by getting me to move my left foot but there was no way that was going to happen because I knew that if I moved my feet that my shoes would just make me slide. So Jive climbed up the ladder as I was still quiet and staring at the rock intensely before he offered me his hand so I could push myself up with my right foot. With a shift of faith I let my right foot press against his hand as I pushed myself up and quickly climbed to the top, once again secure at my new favorite spot. After a brief conversation, Jive continued on his journey toward Wagon Train before saying something along the lines of “What would you do without me?” with a joking tone. I don’t know if I said this aloud or if I was thinking it but to answer his question…I would have fallen off the rock actually. I realize now that even though Jive may not realize this but that was an act of Love Does. He didn’t belittle me, or jokingly try to make me more nervous, or even question what most likely looked utterly ridiculous. He accepted what I was trying to do and helped me achieve it…literally by helping push me up. Now I am pretty sure he made fun of me a little but that didn’t matter because he ultimately respected my task and my need to get onto the rock even if he didn’t understand it. He didn’t tell me to just come down before I hurt myself. So the arrival of Jive at the exact time where I needed help was another sign and push toward my journey to shore. 

I continued to read the book before darkness emerged and I made a pillow for my head with my jacket as I placed the blanket over me looking up at the sky. I’ve been incredibly mesmerized by stars this Summer because I only recently found out that the stars move every night and that every night you could witness a few shooting stars. As I stared up at the stars I had the realization that I wanted to be just like a star. I wanted to shine bright and bold with my passion and love, I wanted to be apart of something big, and even when I died I wanted to continue to shine for years and years because of my imprint on the world before I’d eventually fade. I want that to be my final act of Love Does.

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