Because I’ve had glimpses of what love from Heaven feels like and my soul seems to wake a bit more with each encounter, I am anxious to understand how to feel that love more completely in my life. I believe that feeling the dependable love offered by the Father and Son, either from Them or from another person is the single-most motivating force in life. The sticky part is that we’re all in different places when it comes to understanding what charity looks like and feels like. Consequently, we’re all in different places when it comes to offering that charity to each other. I think for the most part, that’s what we’re trying to do though, love each other the way He would.
I believe that our ability to love ourselves the way Heaven loves us is crucial to being able to offer that same genuine love to others. In fact, I believe understanding how much God loves each of us individually is the surest way to offer charity to our fellow sojourners. I believe having a few minutes each day to bask in that love fills the holes in our constantly draining self-worth and leaves us overflowing with gratitude to share.
Shortly before the Savior was arrested and crucified, in his final mortal hours with His apostles, He shared some poignant moments with them and touched on this topic. When I imagine the concluding scenes of that night, I imagine some confusion on their part as He talks to them about going somewhere they can’t follow. He knows that they can’t possibly comprehend what’s about to occur and yet He tries to prepare them as best as He can. I imagine sincerity and heaviness on His part, knowing what He’s about to undertake and knowing that it will be painful for them as well. I see His eyes filled with compassion and perhaps a few tears as He approaches each man in turn, removes his dusty sandals and proceeds to wash the odorous, cracked, and worn feet. I see Him being methodical and thorough and gentle. I wonder if He conversed with them while He worked. I wonder if they shared memories of the previous 3 years, speaking of moments they’d shared or the ways each man had changed. As He continued His counsel, He asked them to love one another as He had loved them. I think sometimes the first part of that quote from Him gets the most attention and we’re eager to counsel each other about loving others the way Christ would but we’re not as quick to understand how that love is there for each of us-ours for the taking. Don’t misunderstand, I think the learning is bi-directional and by offering help to others, we learn charity, but it’s so much easier to do if you let yourself feel the love He has for you. My goal in this space is to dive into that love in great detail because I think many of us don’t realize the how deep and refreshing those waters are. Instead of binding us to a certain code of conduct, the experience of charity frees us because we finally have a conduit to heaven and our decisions can be made with more clarity and purpose. So in an effort to soothe us all with a bit more of that love, imagine yourself in that room with the Savior that last night. He was about to perform the greatest act of love that He could in the atonement but since my brain has yet to stretch far enough to fully comprehend that, I find Him just as, if not more loving in his more mortal actions because I can relate to them. Imagine having watched Him perform miracle after miracle for person after unique person. But more than the miracles, imagine having watched Him interact with the people. Imagine Him looking intently into weary eyes or stooping to talk and smile with a child. Imagine Him weeping with a friend or offering a crust of bread to a beggar. Imagine all those things from our kind and gracious Lord, and then think of the scripture, love one another as I have loved you. We’re not talking about a directive as much as we’re talking about a feeling. It’s as if He’s saying ‘Take this, take what I have given you, this knowledge of how to be loved and to love, internalize it and remember it, know that this is the most important thing you can share of me. When I’m gone, this is how you will recognize My influence and this is how you will acquaint others with Me.”
Are you still with me? Yeah, there you are, that’s you, moving a little closer to Him. Let Him love you.