Cause for Reflection
by Cheri Hardaway

Oh, to feel the warmth of your touch once again, to enjoy the caress of your hand as you hold me. Instead I lie here in the cold darkness of my confinement, staring at unchanging walls, wondering if I will ever again be wanted... or needed. I am old and worn next to the younger contemporaries you now employ to your satisfaction.

Once we looked forward to simple pleasures. Sharing the creamy coolness of ice cream passed many a hot summer's evening. Cool winter nights often found us together, sipping hot, steamy soup or indulging ourselves in hearty chili. The simple act of stirring sugar into home-brewed iced tea always brought a smile. It didn't take much to make us happy, you and me.

I do miss you.

The creative writing assignment had been to write about a spoon, long ago forgotten inside a kitchen drawer - from the perspective of the spoon! My daughter had given her paper to me for critiquing. I smiled at her creativity, thinking her writing more accurately described an intimate love relationship than the description of what a spoon might be thinking.

But her essay had given me cause for reflection about this thing called love. I thought of how people can be confused about love. Some think love means having everything their own way. If you really love me, Mom, You'll let me - buy this dress, pierce my tongue, go to the prom... Fill in the blank with whatever works. Others think love is purely physical attraction. Still others look for warm fuzzies, understanding love to be as fickle as the whimsy of their fluctuating emotions.

Control can also be mistaken for love. Consider the overprotective parent that refuses to let his child experience life because he or she might get hurt or make poor choices. Ponder the wife who tells her husband what to do, as if she were his mother.

Authentic love, however, is different. Authentic love goes beyond the surface, beyond warm fuzzies and feel-good emotional fixes. Authentic love empowers and brings purpose to life. It causes its object to look beyond self and towards others, in order to bestow upon them what has already been bestowed upon itself.

Handing my daughter's paper back to her, I smiled as I reflected on the One who had given me that kind of love in my life.

"Then said Jesus, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'" Luke 23:34 KJV

Knowing both the freedom of surrender and the pain of resistance, Cheri desires to bring God's hope to others suffering in life's deserts. She and husband Wayne have been blessed with four children and three grandchildren. Contact Cheri at [email protected]

Copyright 2007 Cheri Hardaway

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