Do you see that picture? THAT is a picture of what love looks like. "Of course," you say, "Everybody loves Sarah! The Torch wouldn't be The Torch without her!" Which, naturally, is true, however - that is NOT why that is a picture of what love looks like.
The snake makes it a picture of love. Being the fitness gurus we are, Sarah and I went for a walk one evening. I was the first one to spot the snake. I grabbed Sarah's arm, and said, "LOOK!" And waited in anticipation for her to scream and freak out a bit. Sarah HATES snakes. They don't really trouble me much. I think it's kindof funny when we encounter one and she tries to escape.
But, Sarah surprised me! She said, "Wait! I have to catch it!" Hmmm, I thought, She must be trying Exposure Therapy to rid herself of her fear of snakes - being the psychological thinker that I am. I was wrong. She handed me her phone, held up the snake, and asked me to take a picture. Her nephew, Benjamin, LOVES all kinds of creatures, and Sarah LOVES Benjamin, so she knew he would be very happy to see a picture of his aunt holding a snake. She did get a little creeped out after she put the snake down and it slithered away.
So that is a picture of love. When we love, we do things that sometimes go against our nature - which is not always easy. In fact, often it can be very hard. Our society makes it difficult to talk about love, too - particularly if it is love among humanity and apart from family and friends. People think it is impossible to love others unless you are deeply and intimately involved in their lives - and who has time to get deeply and intimately involved in the lives of all of humanity, besides God?
But, I think it is possible to love people just because they are people and are worthy of my caring. We recently got an email in which we were told we are the most beloved ladies in that community. I admit, I cried when I read that. The email was sent to inform of us of an opportunity they had found to give back to the Torch - but for me, that was secondary. We are beloved because that is a community where we love on people. We draw strength for that from God.
It is a lot of work to keep the Torch going. We live in a busy society, and it is much easier to slip into apathy, and just focus on our own pleasures and happiness. We are also individualistic - and are encouraged to always look out for numero uno (which means number one, for those of you who don't have my Spanish linguistic capabilities). We love the circle of individuals who are in our immediate bubble, and don't allow space for others to crowd in. We tend to want to best of everything for ourselves, and if that means a little less for somebody who isn't in our sphere, well, maybe they just don't work as hard or care as much about the people in their lives. I think that is one of the reasons a lot of people don't get what we do or why we do it.
But, in spite of this society, I do see love. Sometimes it looks like hamburgers, and pasta salad. Sometimes it is a funny balloon-bird craft thingy. Sometimes it is found when the temperature is 110 in the truck, and we are serving the 100th meal of the evening, and somebody smiles and says, "Thank you, God bless you!"
I see it when I walk into 7-11 to buy an iced tea, and walk out with $200 in donations to The Torch. I see it when Terri is giving out her thousandth hug - and serving water and lemonade with a smile on her face.
Love looks like a lot of different things. And it sounds like three very important words: I love you.
I think it's sad people are uncomfortable saying and hearing those words. I hope that is one of the elements of our society The Torch can help to change.
I love you.