There's Always Something Left To Love
St. Augustine once wrote, "God loves all of us as if there were only one of us."
There's a beauty in that statement that resonates with me and perhaps you, too. But how do we know this to be accurate and not just opinion or wishful thinking?
The more we ponder these things, the more our heads spin, which is precisely why most of us don't want to think too deeply about why we want to view God as love--we desperately don't want to be wrong about it.
Because we know how fickle we can be as human beings. We know that what might seem like love for one person may not feel like love to another. Or we wonder about the feelings we call love and sometimes doubt, deny, or wish to be rid of them.
It's almost impossible to imagine that God could love purely, intensely, without reservation or conditions because none of us seem to be able to do so.
It is actually disorienting to realize that the love we hope of God is filled with wild abandon, self-sacrifice, and utterly devoid of any kind of transaction or tit-for-tat.
And there are times in our lives when we feel that every shred of love we have is wrung out of us. We might look around at the world, at the people in our lives, and feel like we've got nothing left to give.
If you have ever felt this way, you know it can lead you to despair.
I recently read a quote from the novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez that resonated profoundly with me:
There's always something left to love.
God is sitting on a park bench near a pond, and is silently and peacefully feeding ducks.
Michael, the archangel with a penchant for frustration over humanity's lack of justice and mercy, walks up and sits down on the bench beside God.Michael is silent for a moment, but it's evident they have something on their mind. Finally, without looking up, God says, "What is it, Michael?"Michael launches into a long diatribe about how awful human beings are to one another and how the world seems to be getting worse and not better, and then Michael wonders aloud, "I don't know why you just don't get rid of all of this, and start over again."God smiles softly and keeps tossing bread to the ducks that are crowding around God's feet. Then God looks up, and says to Michael, "Look around you, and tell me what you see."
Michael complies, and describes the scene around them.
"I see a couple pushing their child in a stroller, and the child is laughing. There is a woman jogging, and listening to music, and she's singing off key because of her headphones. I see a homeless man, digging in the trash can... and some teenagers kissing on a blanket by the tree over there... and these ducks."
God nods, and then quietly begins feeding the ducks again. Michael waits impatiently for a response, unsure of what to say or do. Finally, God breaks the silence.
"Michael... there's always something left to love."
In all our wondering, may we have the insight to see the world as God sees it. May we learn to trust in our hopes about God's love. And may we always remember that there is always something left to love if we are willing to see it.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.