I originally came across this great little story in August of 2007. Approaching Valentines Day, it seems to me with the national psyche and popular culture at its current state, it’s time to revisit the subject. I want to share it and some time-modified comments with you as Valentine’s Day 2020 approaches. Please–read on. . .
Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others–including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.
Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in History Supreme, the most expensive yacht on Earth. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “Oh, no, I’m sorry, but I can’t. I’ve got a bunch of silver and gold and goodies aboard, and… well, I know you understand. I just don’t have any room for you.”
Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in Earth’s biggest yacht, Azzam: “Vanity, may I ride with you?”
“I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet, and this IS a Leoni interior.” Vanity answered.
Sadness was close by so Love asked for help: “Sadness, I know you’ll let me go with you, right?”
“Oh, dear…. Love, I—You’ve been there so often for me; but right now, I’m so sad that I just really need to be by myself!”
Happiness passed by too on a party yacht, but she was so giddy and preoccupied with the party, and the music was so loud that she didn’t even hear when Love called her.
Suddenly, there was a calm voice: “Come, Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he forgot to ask the elder his name. The craft in which they rode together was plain and nondescript among the opulence of all whom Love had always thought were his friends, yet it was strongly built and had seen much good use. When they arrived at dry land, the elder quietly went his own way.
Love realized how much he owed the elder and asked another elder, Knowledge, who was unloading belongings and supplies: “Who was that who helped me?”
“That was Time,” Knowledge answered. “Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me when no one else would?” Knowledge stopped working, straightened, smiled, and with deep wisdom answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”
You’ve read it before: Unless they know you real well, people will forget a lot of what you say; and people will forget most of what you do—but people won’t forget how you made them feel. And therein lies the magic of this 2nd Cup I originally shared in February of 2007.
Thirteen years have passed since then . . . Thirteen.
Love takes time to mature. Think of Knowledge’s potent words: “. . . only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.” If over the passage of years what you feel towards another has shifted from Gotta-Be-Around-Em-24/7 to Hide-Me-It’s-Him/Her-Again, that might not be Love, love. It’s entirely possible that’s just gas.
Around 7 minutes is the average time between TV commercials, even the ones about love and marriage. We know 7 minutes does not a marriage make; and 7 years is just getting started.
You may have grown up believing it normal to dissolve any non-thriving relationship. Guess what? All relationships occasionally hit a patch of maintenance and coasting. It’s normal to the ebb and flow of any human interaction. Nevertheless, quitting isn’t the norm. Perseverance is.
Love takes time to mature. If over the passage of years what you feel towards another has shifted from mild appreciation to a dawning awareness that to lose personal contact with that person would carve a huge hole in your heart–well, now that there’s LUV, love. It’s the real deal, on-purpose, Time-proven; the stuff of great friendships and terrific marriages.
“. . . only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”
I wonder how long it took Love, standing there with eyes unfocused, to understand what a huge compliment the brilliantly-influential Time had paid him? Do you understand? Given the choice to be Love or Time, most would choose Love. What’s not to love about Love? Everybody loves to be loved. “How sweet it is to be loved by you… “I need your love— I need your love— God speed your love to me.” Less by far are those who choose over time to create Lovers in their wake. . .
That’s what Time was doing.
Time isn’t an elder by virtue of age. Time’s an elder because he has established his own niche: Time is a creator of champion lovers. Wherever Time goes and whatever else may be his task, he is forever and always alert, watching for those into whose lives he can pour some of himself and his own ever-widening dimensions of love for others.
And Time’s focus is precise. His intent is to create an extension of himself within the hearts of any who will pay attention to who and what he is .
How often do you need to hear someone tell you they believe in you before you begin believing in yourself again? There is no easy answer, for some never do believe in themselves to the point they climb above where they’ve been and begin moving toward personal and spiritual excellence.
And how often do you need to hear “I love you” before you start loving yourself again? Once more, not an easy thing. Some never do escape their own loveless gravity and allow the love of someone else in until they can shock their own into beating again.
No guarantees accrue. You are the sum of your own choices. It can be disarmingly easy to bury landmines, calibrate laser tripwires, install infrared sensors and keep everyone at attitude’s-length. It is possible to live an entire lifetime convinced that your perpetual loneliness and surface-deep friendships comprise the way you always intended to live. It also will eventually push away the very ones that Time will reveal were your best allies.
Time is a creator of champion lovers. Time softens locked jaws and impacted notions. Time reveals that things are rarely what they seem. Like a laser, it will soon sear straight through nonsense and popular opinion. Time is a creator of champion lovers, because “only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”
If you’re like me, this will take awhile to soak down into the richness of the kind of Love for ourselves and for others that far too many have given up ever experiencing again.
Seek Wisdom as you let that happen. Loving people who are not always lovely is no simple task. It can be overdone or underdone, and often both. Sometimes your best won’t work and your worst will, and only Time and prayer will ever make a difference.
And sometimes people choose to walk away from God, and your best isn’t enough, and “Good-bye” is forever. That doesn’t mean loving others doesn’t work. Sometimes the most loving thing you’ll ever do is to watch them go and never call them back.
I encourage you to love anyway. Become a creator of champion lovers–men and women who dare to run counter to the vapid, lip-deep, politically-advantageous and cynical “love” tossed around by the world and way too much of the Church.
How? Ask God to help you love others more like He does.
I did that. I asked Him to help me with that. Oh, boy. . .
To do that, He began revealing things about others to me, little by little, which made me at times back away–and every time He gently said, “Remember? You want to love others more like I do. I remind you: I know EVERYTHING about you and I love you with everything there is in Me.” Well, there is that. God brought to mind this verse:
Oh, how can I give you up …? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you … My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows… for I am God and not a mere mortal.
(Hosea 11:8-9 NLT)
Valentine’s Day, huh? I’d rather love those who love me back. I, like most people, heartily dislike rejection. It is way too easy to mentally write off those who cut-and-slash. But if I am serious about loving like God does, I can’t do that. Neither can you.
So, I challenge you–work to become a creator of champion lovers by being one yourself, patterned after the greatest Lover of all eternity. And while there’s Time? Well. . .
“Only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”
© D. Dean Boone, 1/29/2020