Sunday, January 28, 2007

No Greater Love

Love.. what is love? Is it merely an emotion that comes and goes like the rain? Is it proud or conceited? Or is it subtle and enduring?

When I think of love, I think of long hot hazy summer days in Kansas - when the heat rolls off the pavement and sand hills, like ocean waves breaking on the beach. I think love is like the wide open blue sky that spans across the golden Kansas wheat fields and it flutters like the windmill in the late afternoon breeze.

Love takes me back to a very special place. Love leads the way past the old family farm, lost so many years ago. It leads past the empty school yard where only memories linger and on down the lane past the old gas station...Love is no longer here. It hasn't been found here for quite awhile.

Love moved on. So we followed. My mother and I. We drove past buildings, past cars, past open fields... Love led the way. It led the way down a dirt road to a small family cemetery. On this hot hazy summer afternoon, I was given a gift of love. As we sat in the cemetery, my mother shared her beautiful love story.

The story is of a young lady, born and raised in the sandy hills of Kansas. Oh yes! There are sandy hills in Kansas. One day this lovely young lady, her husband and their four young children moved far, far away from home. She left behind her sisters and brother, her family and friends. But, the hardest thing to leave behind was her beloved mother. She was her dearest friend.

And so this lovely young lady traveled far, far away, across the sea to another land. This land was very different from Kansas. With love, this young lady set about making a new home for her family. She studied hard to learn the new language and embraced this new culture. She worked hard to help her children adjust to their new home. She did it all with amazing love. Love not only for her family, but also for the millions of people in this new land who had never heard about the Greatest Gift of Love. That was her purpose for being there.

Not long after the young lady had arrived in this new land, she received news that her beloved mother was dying. Cancer was slowly taking away her life. There wasn't much time left. The young lady had to borrow the neighbor's phone, since they had none. She soon discovered how hard it would be to leave this new land. But love would find a way.

The lovely young lady packed a few things and got on a bus, all alone, and traveled for many hours to request permission to leave this new land. She would go every day to the Consulate begging for permission to leave. Days turned into weeks. No one understood the odds stacked against her. No one could see the battle that was raging. Each day her beloved mother would ask for her and wonder why she had not come. Each day she would pray and ask for help. As time drew on, the lovely young lady, who loved her mother dearly, prayed that her mother suffer no more. She couldn't bear the thought of her mother lying in pain just waiting for her to come home.

Finally, after six long weeks, the papers were issued, granting permission for the lovely young lady to fly back home to Kansas. She had her papers, she had her ticket. Love had prevailed. Or so it seemed. For when the lovely young lady called home to give them the news that she was on her way, the answer came back..."it's too late." Her dear mother had passed away.

Love... what is love? It is sacrifice, it is letting go, it is enjoying each precious moment you have, it is as deep as the blue summer sky. So I wanted to pass this on to celebrate the love my mother has given so freely in her life. Her love has been unselfish, not holding a grudge against those who could not understand why she went so far away and why she could not come back so easily. Her love has been gracious, accepting and sincere. Her life is a beautiful reflection of her Heavenly Father.