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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Like Me! Falling in Like

            A few years ago I was standing in line at the hardware store and a couple of friends were talking about the project they were working on.  As one friend described his house it became apparent that is was one of the very old homes in our community.  One of the problems he discovered was with the foundation – there wasn’t one!  Apparently, back in the day, the foundation consisted of a pile of big rocks under each corner of the house.  The rocks had slipped on his house and now the house was off kilter.  That would be quite the project – and quite the problem!
            Foundations are critical.  If there is a good foundation, there is the chance to build a solid structure.  But if the foundation is off, then everything is thrown off and it quickly becomes a mess.
            When it comes to building meaningful relationships, love is what makes them meaningful.  But love has many nuances.  For the Greeks, they used four different words to describe love.  In CS Lewis’ book “The Four Loves”, he describes the simplest and most foundational form of love as Appreciative love.  This Appreciative love can stand on its own but it also weaves its way into meaningful friendship, meaningful erotic love and meaningful covenantal love.
            If there was one word I would use to understand Appreciative love, it would be delight.  When we “like” someone there is a certain level of delight we take in them.  Delight finds enjoyment in someone.  We find ourselves choosing the longer line at the grocery store because we “like” a certain employee and they are working that line.  We go to Starbucks at the same time and use the drive-through because we have come to delight in the smile and friendly banter of the barista.  Appreciative love finds us stopping and just drinking in our children and grandchildren because they are just so goofy, silly, crazy – they are just so… delightful.
            Charlie, one of my softball buddies, has this great way he engages in the encouraging chatter toward his teammates on the field.  It’s always positive and it ends with this unique, sort-of-funky upward voice inflection.  Every time I hear it, I smile.  It’s just delightful – it’s him and it’s good.  I told him I appreciated it.
            The problem with Appreciative love is, no doubt, it won’t be long before we run into things we don’t appreciate or we don’t find delightful in another.  What then?  Well, we can pretty quickly fall in and out of like.  And much of it is dependent upon time, location, opportunity and choice.  Everyone has undelightful things about them.  The deeper loves look beyond those things and search for and focus on the delightful.  But here is the kicker – you can’t get to deeper, more meaningful loves without first finding delight in and appreciating another.
            So, here’s the assignment – practice “liking” others.  Seriously.  Look for the things that are delightful in others.  Look for the things you can appreciate.  In your struggling marriage, find the good.  In your punky, driving-you-crazy kid, find the delight.  In your overbearing, controlling parents, find what you appreciate.  It isn’t all there is to love but it is foundational to love.  And it is your choice.

Peace and grace,


Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4, ESV)

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