Saturday, September 09, 2006

Real Reckless Love

I have encountered a lot of tragedy and sorrow the last few months. Steven's good friend at work died in a work accident early this summer. Then our friends' two year-old daughter died suddenly in June. I visited my 91 year-old infirm grandmother last month. This week I've been reflecting on the death of Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter" and speaking several times with a dear friend who is miscarrying her baby. Yesterday I encountered a friend I hadn't seen in several months, a young mother with stage 4 breast cancer, and I also spoke with a friend whose teenage sister is very ill with kidney disease.

What is God's message to me here? I have never encountered such sadness and sorrow, illness and accidents in such a short time period. With my tendencies to fear over illness and other physical things I can't control, I know that God is teaching me to love and to trust. He is also helping me to have faith and hope in the life to come, that I may not live in fear of death.

But I've also tried to think about what each of these people have taught me in their lives. Whether it be the unborn baby I will never meet on this earth or my friend's precious little girl who we saw just a few weeks before her death, these souls were each created to return to God and draw us all closer to Him. I still remember a comment our friend Matt made at the wake of his daughter about how he loved her with a reckless love and he has no regrets about loving her so much. He also commented on how he will continue to love his baby boy and future children with that same kind of reckless love. This is a love which hurts, a love with no limits and no holding back. A love that isn't afraid to be passionate, to be ones self. A love that we can see so vividly in young children who have no inhibitions, no boundaries.

Steve Irwin and his love for animals, really his whole persona was an example of this. He was who he was. And many of us felt like we knew the real Steve Irwin because of this. I love this quote from him:

"You know, there's this... they kind of cringe, you know, 'cause I'm coming out with 'Crikey' and 'Look at this beauty'.

"Just say what you're gonna say, mate. You know, is it a cultural cringe? Is it, they actually see a little bit of themselves when they see me, and they find that a little embarrassing?

"I'm fair dinkum, like kangaroos and Land Cruisers, winged keels and bloody flies! I think we've lost all that. I think we've all become very, sort of, money people."

I see this realness in my friend with cancer and as my other friend described in her terminally ill sister and even in my poor grandmother who can no longer do much of anything herself. For them the fear is gone and they are who they are. Death is real to them because it could be so close. But really it could be so close for us too. We might not wake up tomorrow morning or we might get hit by a freight train, or we might have to watch our own children suffer and die at a young age. It's terrifying. But it shouldn't be.

May Christ help me to be "fair dinkum" (real) and have a reckless love for Christ and a reckless love for my family, friends, and all those around me, and even for the earth and beautiful creatures God has made just for me. May we find hope and peace amidst the sorrows and fears of this life as we learn to seek the life that is to come. Thank you Father for each of these people who teach me to love life more and love you more, with a real reckless love.

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