Not Like a Tame Lion

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.– Maya Angelou

Meditations in Motion

Did you ever read a quote that stayed in your mind for a long time? One that stuck with you, that haunted your dreams and wormed its way into your heart? This Maya Angelou quote did that for me.

I have a list of tiny bits of ideas that I would like to write about sometime. Anyone reading my list would shake their heads in puzzlement. Some of the ideas are goofy, some are esoteric, none are fleshed out. Bible verses, random quotes, and my own shorthand brand of scribbles populate the list.

The Maya Angelou quote has been on the list for a long time, but I never quite knew what to do with it. It speaks to me, but I could never explain why the quote is so significant to me. Maybe I still have not figured it out. We will see.

Meditations in Motion
Photo by Vil Son on Unsplash

When I was a young girl, before I married or had children, I had a sentimental view of love. Maybe it was from all the bodice-rippers I read as a teenager, full of lusty pirates and repressed noblewomen.

Oh, I knew my parents loved me, of course. They had to love me; they were my parents, and parents naturally loved their children. The fact that they loved me, I never questioned.

I suspected my sister loved me too, even though I think I may have been somewhat of a pest. I adored my sister. She was glamorous, went out on dates, wore high heels and bracelets, and drove a car while smoking a cigarette, for heaven’s sake!

I vaguely knew God loved me, or at least Jesus did. We sang a song about it in Sunday School.
Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.

This was my experience of love.

Meditations in Motion

My hubby and I met (in calculus class) during the first semester of our Freshman year in college. I wish I could tell you that it was love at first sight, but I can’t. We had a tempestuous on-again-off-again relationship that culminated in marriage the August after we graduated.

Maybe it wasn’t the smart thing to do; maybe I should have searched for a person with whom I had a steadier connection, but I was in love. The fact that my parents saw Bill as a “Bad Boy” made him even more appealing to me.

After marriage this “Bad Boy” worked at the same job for over 40 years to provide for the kids and me, never once complaining. OK, he might have complained a little bit, but still…He was a good, dependable husband and involved father. “That’s what love is“, I thought, a man whom I can count on.

When I was a young mother, I did not want to leave my children to go to work all day every day. Bill and I made financial sacrifices so that I could stay home with the kids. I loved being a stay at home mom. I was never bored or felt unfulfilled. The kids and I had little adventures, did some crafts, went exploring, cooked together. “That’s what love is“, I thought, my heart overflowing with tenderness.

Meditations in Motion

My sister moved to New England (from Pennsylvania) when she got married and we didn’t see each other often. When we did get together, with her children and mine in tow, we always had a great time.

I can remember one outing we took to an amusement park when we got pelted with hail the size of golf balls. As we made a mad dash for shelter, her middle daughter, always a dreamer, stopped to examine a hailstone on the ground. I scooped her up and ran with her the rest of the way. “That’s what love is“, I thought, protecting my sister’s children as my own.

As my parents got older, I helped to care for them. First, my father got sick. As his health declined and venturing out of the house became more difficult, my hubby would cut his hair for him. I remember watching this former “Bad Boy” gently trimming my frail father’s hair and thinking “This is what love is“. Forgiveness, dependence, compassion, and care.

Meditations in Motion

My mother had a stroke three years before she died that left her wheelchair-bound and suffering from dementia. She still loved to go out to a restaurant for dinner, though. I remember when Bill helped take her out for dinner, he would tell me over and over “Don’t let her order the ribs.

They were messy to eat and her dexterity was severely compromised. When my mom would ask “Isn’t this the place with good ribs?” he would reply. “Yes, it is. Is that what you want?” then ask for extra napkins so Mom could enjoy her feast. This is what love is – embarrassment, tolerance, benevolence, and generosity.

Meditations in Motion

Yes, my concept of love evolved over the years. As I matured, so did my idea of love. Nothing had more of an impact on how I understand love than how I understand God, however. This awareness informs all of my loving relationships.

It says in the Bible that “God is love“. God is love. C.S. Lewis tells us that “God is not like a tame lion“, and this I believe with all of my heart. Love, like God, is fierce, strong, indestructible, and immutable.

Love, like God, can survive anything. It burns with a holy, unconsuming flame. Its power can overcome all obstacles. It suffuses our lives with light, gives us strength, and fuels our hope. It arrives in our lives, panting and breathless, wanting to be given a chance.

I thought I understood love when I was younger, but I know now that I was just playing around the edges. I did not comprehend its might and its reach. Its intensity and inviolable nature I could not fathom.

The Maya Angelou quote says all of this to me. It makes clear just how determined and optimistic love can be. It hints at promises kept and barriers overcome. No wonder it made its way into my heart and would not leave; that’s how love works. The least we can do is to let it in.

I am linking up with Purposeful Faith for RaRa link up, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Char at Trekking Thru, Shank You Very Much for Dream Team, Shelbee on the Edge for Spread the Kindness, Meghan Weyerbacher for Tea and Word, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, Just a Second for Scripture and a Snapshot, Peabea Photography for Sunday Scripture Blessings, Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart, Amelia Gilliand for Words That Inspire, Worth Beyond Rubies, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Reflections From Me for A Blogging Good Time, Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, Itโ€™s a Small Town Life for Thankful Thursday, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, Lori Schumaker for Moments of Hope, Be Thee Inspired, Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Spiritual Sundays for Welcome, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, The Blended Blog for Friday Loves, Counting My Blessings for Faith โ€˜n Friends, and Bethere2day for Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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77 comments

  1. I am sure that our view of love morphs as we age. I should ask my mom about that, she’s been married 70+ years!

    I, too, met my husband my freshman year, although we didn’t start dating until I was a senior. My parents adore/d him. But when he hadn’t asked me to marry him just a few months after we’d both moved to our respective states to start our first real job, my parents thought I should move on. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. โ€œThis is what love isโ€ is a good motto. Iโ€™m going to remember that one. Wayne Dyer always said that we are called โ€˜human beingsโ€™ and not โ€˜human doingsโ€™ for a reason. But I think he was wrong. Who and what and why we are is all wrapped up in the doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is just a beautiful post, Laurie. It is so true … somehow as we journey through life, we truly come to learn what love is – and it is a sacrifice at times, wrapped in the most beautiful way. Perhaps this is the very reason Advent moves us so deeply. A baby, so preciously wrapped, came to sacrifice all for us. The very essence of love. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your very kind words, Joanne. We do have to learn what love is gradually, don’t we? Yes, Advent is the time to think about love. God’s love for us is the model for all human love.

      Like

    • First of all, I think this is the best thing I have ever read to equate love to God. (Or God to love). Beautifully written and so well thought out. Your tips at the end were spot on.

      At first, when I read some of the emotions you attributed to unrequited love (anger, jealousy, etc.) I was thinking you were describing the effects of attraction or infatuation.

      When I think of love, I always think of 1 Corinthians 13. I compare everything to that yardstick.

      “That Force is a part of who we are, it โ€˜comesโ€™ from within us, from within everything, even the โ€™emptyโ€™ space which most of the Universe…” loved this!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Laurie, your critique was more than i could wish for. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Certainly the emotions i described, particularly, but not limited to, the negative ones, were put in there not so much to define or ascribe them to real Love , the Force itself, but as a feature of how we humans can sometimes feel or think that love is, or love does ‘to us’, particularly in the case where we feel it is unrequited or has turned ‘sour’ .

        That was written in an attempt to make my more esoteric ideas better identifiable with those who may have felt ‘hurt’ by love and so they could identify more with my overall theme.
        You are right of course, infatuation and (physical) attraction, lust even, are more attributable to engendering those feelings within us. Love does not ‘require’ them, they are not part of Love, but the Force of Love moving through us can be hijacked by the mind and help amplify those negatives if our ‘programming is leading us in that direction and we do not let Love take the helm.

        Something similar to how a ship can be blown, sometimes very quickly, in a direction contrary to the direction the wind is coming from, so too we can be ‘blown’ by the force of Love’s power in a direction contrary to the path of True Love. (Perhaps unduly attributing the feelings direction we end up taking to that we believe love ‘intended’ for us to go and maybe not ever having been able to just let it lead us where it ‘Wills’?)

        If you look at the right hand side of my blog homepage (and on every post, i think? – perhaps not in ‘Reader’ posts though??) you will see i have 2 Creds written so i see them every day i write…

        1 Cor 13: 4-8, and Phil 2:1-9 (1. if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions, 2 make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind;… )

        When it comes to Love i think we see pretty well ‘eye-to-eye’ ๐Ÿ™‚

        Thank you again for giving so much of your time. – it means a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I understand your “ship and wind” analogy. I did see the side of your homepage with the 1 Corinthians there…after I wrote my reply!

        I also think we are on the same page regarding love. It’s fun to have someone to discuss these things with!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m always up for an exchange of ideas with intelligent people! ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially ones who have heard of ( i won’t say ‘understand’) Quantum physics and who can share their Faith in God. ๐Ÿ™‚ ( there are not as many as i’d like!)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully written and so true. Love isn’t the flash and dash of romance, it’s the small helpfulnesses [a word?] along the way. You found the right guy!

    Also I’ve never seen that Maya Angelou quote before and I like it. I’m big on keeping a list of quotes, too. Never know when the wisdom contained therein is what you need to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is beautiful. Simply perfect. I too jot down ideas and let them linger, until courage overcomes fear and I allow love inside to take the lead. And when I do, something lovely is created where there was darkness/emptiness the moment before. A candle has been lit. I feel your entry here is a gesture of love, created out of love, and spreading love. It is very moving.

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  6. Such a powerful testimony of love. My understanding of love has grown since having children, and I can see how it will continue to grow as I shift through the seasons do life. Oh, and that CS Lewis quote always thrilled me!

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  7. Absolutely marvelous post on how love grows as we grow and being to comprehend God’s love. There is a picture I post periodically called First Day in Heaven. And that is such a powerful display of love – His love for us. Wonderful heartfelt words.

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  8. That was a beautiful post Laurie, so heartfelt, and you wove your life experiences right into this post, along with the threads of this quote by the great poet Maya Angelou … (I like her too). Soon, you and Bill will embark on a carefree new life, having weathered the child-rearing years, the working years, the highs and lows, the love and the heartache. A new chapter is on the horizon … soak up as much of this total freedom and make lots more new memories … they await you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Linda. I am looking forward to the new chapter in our lives. I was a little bit anxious about our impending empty nest before it happened, but wound up loving the freedom that came with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing your “journey” through discovering love in new ways. I feel like my view of being grateful has evolved in a similar way, changing as I’ve gotten older and experienced new things.

    I hope you don’t take offense in me asking this, but I love learning about religions. One thing I never understood regarding God/love in the Bible was the contradiction between the verses (apologies I don’t know what books/lines they are and I’m in the office today so I can’t go grab my Bible to look them up) that God says “I am a jealous God” yet another verse says “love is not jealous” so how can God be both jealous and be love? Just curious on your thoughts if you’d be willing to share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tracy, your question is a good one. In all honesty, there are parts of the Bible that I question and parts I have trouble with too. I think what the “jealous God” verses in Exodus (there are 2 of them) mean is something like this: the God of love does not want you to worship the god of wealth or the god of power, or the god of lust. It’s not like He is jealous as you or I think of jealousy. He is not envious. He wants what is best for us. He does not want our attention drawn to unworthy things. I am probably not the best person to explain, but this is how I perceive the jealous God verses. Thanks for making me think!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I have come to appreciate love in a whole new concept, as I have grown older. It really has a whole new meaning for me, I could say, and I enjoy it so much more. Thank you for linking up today and sharing your wisdom.

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  11. WOW! That’s all I got, just wow! What an amazing post Laurie, you had rears in my eyes the whole time. Thinking of your husband and how like mine he is. All man, but so loving and tender at the same time. Just like our Father. Beautiful post!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!

    Blessings,

    Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think many young people have this notion of falling in love and love at first sight. Friends questioned why I would marry Hubster (I was 22 when we got engaged) if I wasn’t deliriously enraptured. Um… because love is a slow burn that lasts for decades! Now I’ve been with Hubster for over 15 years while they have seen divorce and failing relationships. It’s time people stop looking for the storybook fairy tale and enjoy the real love in their life – make it your fairy tale and you’ll realize how great it is. #DreamTeam

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  13. Laurie,
    I absolutely love this. Each step of our lives leads us to another level of understanding what love is and therefore understanding even more who God is. I’ve written a lot about love and what I’ve learned through adoption and then being Mom to a precious daughter with significant special needs. But I think what I’ve learned as I’ve dug deep to love our daughter well, even when it didn’t look like the picture I had of love and even when she pushed me away in extreme measures – has taught me the most about God’s love.

    This piece is so beautiful – I am honored to feature it (and YOU!) as the #MomentsofHope feature this week. It will go live at midnight tonight โ™ฅ Thank you so much for joining me in sharing hope.

    Blessings,
    Lori

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lori,
      Thank you so much for featuring this piece in Moments of Hope. It is an honor. I enjoy reading your posts each week and am grateful for the ability to share each Thursday.

      I am amazed at your ability to love and love well. It is not easy to give love when the recipient pushes you away. Your daughter is lucky to have such a caring mom. Blessings to you!

      Like

  14. Our understanding and definition of love changes as we go through life, I can’t agree more with your words! You love your husband and don’t know how you can love more, then you have children, then 2, then go through heartbreak watch that husband or friend walk you through the ugly mess. It’s beautiful, evolving, and living. Thank you for sharing with us at #LiveLifeWell.

    Liked by 1 person

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