Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Phileo: A Love that Doesn't Melt

I walked along our 14˚F fluffy snowy driveway amidst the scent of skunk and through the damp garage into our warm home.  I closed the garage door and could tell that Mike's game was not going well.  I would normally approach Mike's weekly Dominion match with hesitation, nervous if he was upset about the outcome or not, but this time I was just interested in the game.  "Hey sweets, how's the game going? Can I pour you a drink?" I asked.  The poor thing did not sound good, but was not unraveled.   For the first time in a while I was inspired to care about the game just because he cared about it. Perhaps some of my notes from the women's meeting tonight helped.  A lot.

This evening, our senior pastor's wife, Beth, gave a wonderful outline and teaching.  It was not a tip sheet on how to be a better wife or how-to book on marriage, but a reflective and factual account of what loving our husbands means.  I love Carolyn Mahaney's book, Feminine Appeal, and you may know my obsession with Musical Theater, so I will begin with one of Beth's examples of from Carolyn's book, reflecting on a definition of love from Fiddler on the Roof.

This definition of love is more of what we do, rather than this definition of the love, in the context of loving our neighbor, our closest being spouse.  Although touching and memorable, this is not the love as described in Titus 2:1-5, referencing the love a wife would have for her husband and it is not the love described in our call to "love your neighbor as yourself," from Luke 10:27.  The love in these verses is from the Greek, Phileo, is defined as: warm, tender, compassionate, heartfelt affection as for a dear friend; enjoyment, being fond of someone

There is plenty of challenge right in there.  It is easy to sit back and see all the ways you serve your spouse or neighbor, and point at those acts as versions of love.  And they are versions of love, acts of kindness and wonderful ways to serve!  But the love that comes from deep within the heart is a deep felt fondness, that cannot begin with our actions.  It comes from a current good-standing relationship with the God of the universe, knowing that first I was loved, when I was an enemy of God.   And now, out of my gratitude of being rescued from my own defiance, I am able to have an outpouring of love that is tender, compassionate, and heartfelt without being fake.  

The snow will eventually melt off of our driveway and the garage will warm with new birdseed and garden supplies come spring.  Eventually my good deeds of servitude to my husband will fail as I may be too tired to accomplish.  One day I will not have strength to make Mike his favorite breakfast sandwich or coffee, but when my strength fails in frail moments of health or old age, I will pray that I continue to desire to cultivate the Phileo love.  And ask God for the desire to continue to grow.