“There is only love.”- Gretchen Rubin
I am crouched in a crowded hallway with children bumping into one another, bumping into me from every side. It is almost 3:00 p.m., and we are all anxious for the day’s closure and a change of routine. My hands hold a backpack that belongs to a little guy. He snaps orders at me like a little drill sergeant while I try to process exactly how to respond. And I plan on responding- I just need a moment to think; I want to make use of this opportunity to teach as well as admonish. He continues with the tirade. “Stand up”, “help me”, “hold this”- words come pouring from his mouth in an accusatory cascading torrent.
As if I owe it to him. As if I was there solely for this purpose.
I take his little hands in mine and look him in the eye… and I try to remember (I tell it to myself): ‘there is only love’.
My own four children are fighting later- someone pushes, steps on, name-calls. There is always something happening at any given moment, or so it seems. And one mean remark sends me over the edge- flying. And it makes a woman weary- all this spite. All this cruelty. It pulls at her patience like a varmint looking for scraps, leaves her taut and twisted. So she snaps. And she wonders, “Is there only love?”
She finds herself after all this, tired to the bone. Exhausted. So that love seems the furthest thing from her mind. For love seems too narrow in scope, at times, to explain everything. Too free. Too lenient. Too open. Too forgiving. Too kind. Love seems to cover for so much. Why must there be only love?
Much later, she listens to stories of abuse coming from the mouths of those who have been deeply wounded. And she wonders if hate would ever mend a wound like love can.
She watches her own father- and other loved ones too, coping with the progression of a debilitating disease and she wonders if bitterness could ever fill the void like gratitude can.
She sees the grace in which friends deal with change and trouble (of every sort) and she wonders if intolerance could ever cope like mercy can.
She watches children who bicker and fight and squabble and scrap and she asks herself if frustration could ever tolerate like patience can.
And she reminds herself that love is stronger than she thinks. Wider in scope than she ever realized. Abler than she first believed. Love is enough.
Ephesians 4:2 “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,”
Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses”.