You can’t burn love. That’s what I’ve decided. Love is a fire that can’t be burned. Expectations and intentions can be burned. Love can’t. Belief and hope and optimism may be burned. Love cannot.
“Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.”
Song of Songs 8:6-7
My roommate Adam and I took a guy in a week and a half ago. He’s 21, homeless, and we’ll just call him Clyde. I thought Clyde was a nice guy. Had a bit of a swagger and a tough life. That’s ok though. Sometimes, we all have tough breaks. One of the things I liked about Clyde is that he was honest about who he was. Like when I asked him if he was clean from drugs. He told me he wasn’t. Said he smoked some pot the day before. We went to Wal-Mart and got him some new clothes. (Dumb move. We have a clothing ministry. Next time, I’ll take clothes for free.) Got him a tooth brush and some tooth paste. He came back to the house. Things we’re going pretty well for the first part of the week.
Then mid-week hit. Everything kind of went haywire. Sometimes our past chases us down. Sometimes we want it to because we might be more afraid of succeeding than failing. After all, we know what to do with our failures. Deal with ’em. We don’t know what to do with success sometimes though. Can I keep succeeding? Do I have what it takes?
Tonight, I got back from a house church honoring my buddies Kent and Austin who just returned from South Africa. Incredible guys. Get to know them. We ate BBQ, told stories and jokes…had an absolute blast. I got home tonight, and when I walked in, I saw that there was a house key on the floor under the mail slot. It was Clyde’s.
I walked through the house, and checked out his room. He left a note. Not sure what the note meant, but he left it and it is the last thing we’ve got that belonged to Clyde. I was sad. This hasn’t happened in a while, but my heart broke for Clyde. For his future. For his past. For his present. For where he is now. It was maybe a slight taste I got of what God’s heart must feel like, when he sees me and others make poor decisions that give us a less than beautiful past, future, and sometimes a less than pleasant present.
To be completely honest, I’m not mad at Clyde. He ate our food, slept in the house, and we had some good laughs and interesting conversations. He didn’t want to stay. You can’t control that.
I find that when people extend love, their hearts are often broken. Some people say that they feel like they got burned. I think I know what they mean. You gave and you gave and you gave, and they didn’t receive it. Or they did receive it, but didn’t return it.
But are we burned? I don’t think so. The reason why is because I don’t believe there is a way you can counter love. What are you going to do? Try and kill it? Steal from it? Abuse it? Hurt it? Cheat on it?
Love is a forward motion. Love may even have almost all the oxygen taken from it, but when the Spirit of God, the Wind of God breathes on that tiny flame, love knows how to burn again.
You can’t counter love, and it doesn’t matter if you think you’ve got the upper hand cause you never do with love. Love always wins. Always. Because the life we live echoes into the future, even eternity.
You can break a heart, but you can’t burn love. It is a fire. Love on.