I know that most resolutions come at the first of the year, but I really believe this Valentine’s Day is a great mile marker for this particular resolution.
The original Valentine’s Day was a pagan feast and was not at all called “Valentine’s Day.” There was a man named Valentine that was said to have helped the Christians during a time when they were being heavily persecuted under the Roman Empire. How did he help? He was a priest who married young Christians, which apparently no one else was aloud to do at that time. He would marry them in secret. No body knows exactly when he was killed for helping the christians. But many believe that it was on February 14th. Later, it is believed that the Christians celebrated him on this day, trying to counteract the pagan feast that went on at the same time.
That was really just a random bit of history for you. But I thought it was interesting that he died bringing Christians together. If you really look at this, Valentine’s Day started out with an eros kind of love (greek word for sensual, lustful type of affection) and later St. Valentine turned it into a agape kind of love (greek word for a “deeper” love, a love felt between man and woman)
My resolution for this year is to take it in a little different direction in our little family. Another type of love is Philia. Philia is a greek work for friendship. “It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity.” (Wikepedia)
Let’s read these and think: to love with philia (a loyalty to friends, family, and community) REQUIRES virtue, equality, and familiarity.
Having said all of that, I want to this love for family, friends, AND community. This really is an area that Americans, as a society, have seemed to fail in. I want loyal friendships that are honest, just, and loving. I want people who feel comfortable “bearing each others burdens.” We are such a shut-up society. (especially the in the christian society) We go through hard things all alone, we go through secret battles between our spirit and our flesh, all because we want to look good to others. The honest truth is that I never have it all together… or even half of “it” for that matter. We need each other. We need to have a safe haven to be able to work through hard times, sin, and loss without the fear of being judged or talked about. This is so rare, even inside the church, in fact maybe even harder inside the church. I am determined to surround myself with these types of people and be this type of friend for others.
I also want to be more loyal to my husband and kids. My family deserves every piece of me. Proverbs says that because a wife serves her family, they will, at some point rise up and call her blessed. I can promise you I am not perfect at this. This is not always practiced around here, but it is what I am called to. It is what I agreed to before God when I got married and had babies.
And lastly, and possibly what started all this inside me, is that I want to be loyal to my community, the people around me who I do not yet know. It’s so easy to think that live beside me, or in my city are not actually close but really far, far away. I have honestly always dealt with this guilty feeling for ever wanting things or living with anything more than I need, like it was given to me as a burden. But I have truly done nothing about it, until now.
I was reading through the Bible and realizing that the Bible does give all those commands on “how to enter the kingdom of heaven.” You know, all the ones you’ve heard before, like that you need to believe in Jesus and that he died and rose again, and that you need to say with your mouth that you believe. One that we seem to conveniently skip over is where the man says, “Jesus, what do I need to do to enter the kingdom of heaven?” And Jesus replies, “Give all your possessions to the poor, then you will enter the kingdom.” What’s interesting is that even then, the man just walks away, unwilling to do so. This really hit me hard. I don’t want to be the one to walk away, and never enter the kingdom of heaven. Really…. no matter how you look at it, this is what it says.
I need to constantly be reminded that this is the
state of most of the hearts around me
I want to be very aware of the community I live in, what their needs are, who they are, that they are not just a mind-less good deed. Even more than all of this, I want to leave a legacy of family that understand that the poor will always be among us and will always need care. I want to be an example of this to my kids and show them how to really love the people around them.
I know this is a long post about a “deep” subject. But this is really where I am right now. You may see my resolution unfold in this space.
I pray that all of us, in all our pursuits make it a life long calling to love all people well (regardless of religious beliefs, color, social status, etc), the same way we want to be loved amidst all our many flaws.
May we also realize that if we do not speak with love or have not love in our actions, than we are just making noise.
Reach out and really love someone today.
Go out of your way to get to know someone new today.
Happy Valentine’s Day!