Particular Love

Particular Love

During “contemplative time” last week, I had my students reflect on the Resurrection account from John’s Gospel. Fresh from my own ponderings, we discussed the whole “John as the one whom Jesus loved” bit.

“Doesn’t Jesus love everyone?”

Yes, of course.

“Why does John even bring it up?”

I mentioned that perhaps it was because John had encountered the particularity of Christ’s love for him.

And they brought up something that is ingrained in us from our earliest years: the sense of things being equal or the same.

“Doesn’t Jesus love us all the same, though?”

No, He actually doesn’t. They seemed skeptical, perhaps because we automatically begin to assume that Jesus might love me less if He doesn’t love us all the same.

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Love Stories Through the Generations

I grew up hearing the love stories of my parents and grandparents.  My parents knew of each other throughout their youth, since they were both from two large families in the same town, with many of their siblings being in the same grades.  When my mom was trying to avoid a young man who was interested in her, she chose to sit with my dad at a graduation reception.  That event turned into dates (my dad saying my mom begged him and my mom saying that my dad asked for a date) and eventually a relationship, with a breakup to ensure my mom had found the right man.  She had.

My paternal grandparents met in a “romantic” meat-packing plant.  After a couple dates, my grandpa proposed and six months later they were married.  They were together for over sixty years, until my grandmother passed away from lung cancer.  My maternal grandparents met at a dance and my grandma’s brother asked my grandpa to drive her home.  The rest seemed to be history–marriage shortly followed and a brood of children. Over sixty years later and they are still married, my grandpa cracking jokes and my grandma still thinking he isn’t funny.

My mom and grandmas all got married fairly young.  At times, it is easy for me to begin to do the calculations.  “If I was my mother…..I would be married, with a toddler and another baby due in a couple months.”  These thoughts aren’t really comforting, nor are they intended to be.  Instead, they instill a sense of urgency, a feeling that I am missing out.  It’s the all-too-dreaded ticking of the biological clock.  It is enough to make me panic, even as others around me are saying, “You’re young, you have plenty of time.”

The other day I came to a greater realization of life.  At times a relationship and marriage dominate much of my thoughts and desires.  But marriage is only a means to an end.  If the goal is Heaven, marriage is meant to get me there.  Life is meant to be spent striving for spiritual perfection and Heaven.  That mission is one that relates to me now.  No, I don’t have a beau or a marriage to invest in.  Yet if God knows everything, He must have intended this time to be used for something other than just waiting for my life to start, because it has clearly already begun.

Someday I hope to have a story of how I met my husband.  Inevitably, it will be different than my mother’s story.  Yet I’ve been blessed to have experiences and adventures that my mother did not have.  Even as I desire a life of wedded bliss, I strive to embrace my present state in life so that I will be prepared for the next state and for the next life.