I’ve been thinking about love a lot lately. It could be the fact that I’m an unmarried 20-something with a heart that freely gives it, but don’t forget, I’m also independent, and not a huge fan of dating. So change those expectations, and get ready to smile and feel butterflies of a different kind.
Before I get all “into it,” I want to share this clip with you, let it make you smile as you read about my love and the way it makes me so fancee freeeee…. <play clip now if you didn’t already> how much did that make you laugh? Be honest, and don’t be ashamed or feel the slightest bit pedophile-ish at the fact that your heart just skipped a beat listening to a 12 year old boy tell you, you are better than candy, you’re the one for him. You feel those butterflies? They’re the ones that you only got as a teenager, or at least the ones you thought you only got as a teenager. wait… maybe that’s just me.
But guess what, no big surprise, I am not a teenager though my mood swings might suggest otherwise. I still get butterflies, the ones that set me oh so fancy freeeeeee. Because I’m lucky to be loved. Because I’m inspired by love. I said three priceless words to my three year old cousin yesterday, “I love you.” And he came and wrapped his arms tightly around my neck and said, “I love you too ‘Cole!” And then gave me a huge, wet kiss. That gave me butterflies. Let me add here that I am not a pedophile that enjoys listening to teenage boys sing love songs (though I do), nor do I get extra satisfaction over a tiny tot’s hug and five very special words.
I got butterflies for the coolest reason of all. Because I got to see, I get to know, that we were created to love, and that it’s an honor to be loved. Jackson is 3 and he knows what it is to love, he understands how important it is to show it (and the best part is I believe he’s doing it in the most perfect of ways…read on. Me, I, I love to love. I live to love. Look, feel it, give it. Here’s what I love:
- My dad’s laugh. “Dad, I’m going to start my own business.” <insert laugh here> “Well that’s great, honey!” It’s calming, reassuring, and music to my heart (or maybe that’s his trumpet playing). But in it, I feel his love for me, his pride in me and that’s something I’ll never stop loving.
- I love my eyelashes and the fact that when I wear my glasses I often have to clean them because of my longs rubbing agains the lenses. They are what God gave me and I’m embracing the little parts of His creation I am. He made me beautiful. and though at times I’m so hard to love, I try and revel in knowing and feeling that He made no mistake with me, his masterpiece.
- Disclaimer: if you’re not a dog person, this next one is gross. I love the way Sasha smells and sounds when she sleeps. She goes to bed before me, and at night part of my ritual is sitting next to her and giving her a great, deep hug thanking her for the happiness and companionship she offers. You may wonder, how in the hell anyone can feel love by a dog’s smell. To that I say, its not a wet dog smell, its a security smell and if you don’t have it, you. are. missing. out.
- Here’s a more normal one. Amari’s voice. “Auntie ‘Cole?” There’s trust that I hear when she says it. Like she knows I would do anything for her. I would.
When you know and understand the real feeling of love and of trust I’m pretty sure God has just accomplished a big purpose in you. I’m there. I believe that we reach a point when we understand real love, that teaches us to bind our heart in a commitment of self-sacrifice. When someone says those five words “I love you too ______” <-insert your name there, you better believe it’s the truth if you got butterflies. Because how could you not? You are trusting that someone would give up anything, for you. That’s what the butterflies need to be all over!
I remember the first time a man said those words to me. I wanted to jump out of my skin and into his… but I didn’t because I knew I was already in his heart. I remember the butterflies flying wild, there were 5002 deep in my belly, to be exact. I looked into those blue eyes, felt his soft hands wrapped around mine, and I was captured thinking, “this sexy man, wants me.” And the best part of hearing those words were that I knew he would do anything for me. Butterflies. SELFISH butterflies. I look back and see that everything I loved about him were things he did for me rather than the things I got to do for him. Those were the old kind of butterflies, a different kind of butterfly, they are ones I refuse to ever feel again.
I said I wanted to introduce you to a different kind of butterfly at least for me. Its a beautiful kind of butterfly that’s been migrating to my heart for far too long with out me answering the call to fly fancy free from within. Imagine if you will 5002 butterflies in your stomach, maybe you had them a few minutes ago when you heard Joey McIntire tell you “I’m gonna love you for a lifetime.” Or maybe you had them last night over that passionate kiss from your husband right before bed. Did those butterflies make you want to leap off your feet and into a moment of self sacrifice for your true love? Because six years ago, I know I would not have. Because six years ago, those “other” butterflies made me feel like I had everything, with no need to give anything back. It was a feeling that all the sappy love songs had come true for me saying, “I’m the one that gets the whole world…finally!” I look back and see what I got out of it instead of what I could have given because of it and it was far, very far from the whole world. Don’t make the mistake I made. I may have been stronger in the moment, but away from that moment, I was weaker for too long.
Here’s what I should have felt, “I want to give you…” and for a while now, that’s the only love I want to give. I realize the butterflies I get today, or that I had on Saturday night over smiles and a cold beer, or yesterday with Jackson’s hug, or even the ones I got two years ago talking about dog poop are the selfless kind that bring the best out of me where I am able to offer a well-formed, self sacrificing me. And that’s how I knew I’ve reached the point of real love.
And so I ask myself this question as I hear those five words, “I love you too, Nicole.” “Am I ready to fly fancy freeeee in self-sacrifice for ____?” <- insert any name here. You bet I am. You bet I’m lovin’, real lovin’, from the center of who I am, deeply–to the point of self-sacrifice and away from the mundane love that carries me from day to day. That’s not real love, it’s not the way God ever intended it to be felt or given. It’s meant to be deep. So deep from within. Just so you know, loving deeply is in scripture too…Romans 12, take 60 seconds to check it out, I dare you!
I want to end with this beautiful quote by a chinese philosopher and encourage you to do this: Love deeply too.