In the Wild of Loving

Valerie Comment

Wanderlust. Adventure seeking. Traveling into the great unknown.

It all sounds so romantic. I can get on Pinterest or Tumblr and lose myself in beautiful, mesmerizing photos of a serene cabin on top of a mountain. Or the picture of a girl, sitting in a field, with a cup of hot tea in her fingerless-gloved hands, the tattoo across her neck, her hair in perfect dreadlocks. Are dreadlocks supposed to look perfect? Anyway, hers do. Or the photo of couple's feet, in a tent, with the flap open, showing the amazing forest view amid their wool socks and southwest blanket. They are probably sipping coffee too. Coffee that was made over a campfire.

I am drawn to that lifestyle. It is en vogue to be a hippie, a wanderer, a nomad. Shut off from a culture of material possessions and Facebook drama, money is of little value, fight for important causes, rove the earth dripping in essential oils, high on love. Or could the high be from an excess of essential oils? Well, whichever.

Living in the middle of nowhere.

In a tiny house.

On wheels.

So we can easily roll away when people start to get on our nerves.

Oh darling, let's be adventurers.

Until adventure happens in real life. Adventure in real life can look like a difficult marriage, a screaming baby in the middle of the night increasing the difficulty in the difficult marriage, losing a job, the death of a loved one, broken trust, misunderstandings, the loss of friends, failing health. And if we really want to live adventurously navigate through that kind of wilderness as a disciple of Christ with forgiveness, compassion, gentleness. This is not the Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram adventure. You know...Instagram? It's where we post photos that make our lives appear so much cooler than they actually are. One of the reasons I love Instagram is because I enjoy styling, setting a scene, creating an atmosphere. That's something that can be controlled, unlike real life.

We may say we want to go into the wild and be an adventurer, but let it be a breathtaking, courageous, and glamorous risk into a wilderness that will make for a great photograph, a page-turning book, an indie film.

You want an adventure? Love others.

I mean really love others.

Let us love in an unhurried, extravagant way. One of my favorite Dallas Willard quotes is, "Fruit comes slowly." Let's allow someone else's fruit to come slowly, not just our own. Let us seek first the Kingdom of God even in the way we relate to others. Especially, in the way we relate to others. Forgive each other the way Christ forgives.

Forgiveness. Now that is a wild that few enter deeply.

J.R.R. Tolkein wrote, "Courage is found in unlikely places." You don't have go into the wild with a backpack to be courageous. Forgiveness takes courage and our most courageous place is in the way we love others. It is a valiant person that takes the focus off of the self and prioritizes another. And not in a 'false humility' way, but in a truly loving, authentic way.

I was feeling pretty crushed by a close relationship the other morning... mistrust, misunderstanding, miscommunication, and just simply feeling missed. Unloved.

This wasn't an issue of putting up healthy boundaries, there is definitely a reason and time for doing that. This was an 'I am tired of this' issue. I don't feel like loving well anymore and I don't want to forgive anymore. I want to run away.

To Italy.

With a backpack.

"God? How much more?"

I heard very clearly, "John 13".

I opened my Bible to John 13 and it begins with Jesus washing his disciples' feet. "I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you." (John 13:15) I continued to read through chapter 13 and came to verses 34 and 35. "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples--when they see the love you have for each other."

Oh God, I guess you have other plans for me right now that don't include Italy or a backpack.

Jesus, you have challenged us to live as your disciples. It is a costly path into the wild. It is adventurous and requires courage. Let us not choose a lesser path, but let us love slowly and extravagantly, with forgiveness. Let us love others the same way you love us.

"In wildness is the preservation of the world." --Henry David Thoreau. I know Thoreau wasn't talking about personal relationships, but I was thinking of this quote in that light. In the wildness of loving others as Christ loves, people will know we are his disciples. And in Christ is the preservation of the world.

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