It really is. Often we get into this mindset that love is beautiful, easy, wonderful, stars and rainbows and hugs and kisses and perfect! When, in reality, love is messy.
This last weekend I did the Seguin hike again, but this time it was just to Seguin and back, and it was with the senior class of QCS. There were 23 high school seniors and six chaperones. Yeesh! We had a great time in spite of the difficulties we encountered along the way, and I personally really enjoyed getting to know the kids better. We left QCS Friday morning and I knew 22 of the 23 students. By the time we returned Sunday afternoon I felt I had bonded with each of the kids.
The first day we headed out with a sunny sky and excited kids. We drove about eight miles past where we started when we did the trip in February, and that made a huge difference for Amber, Robbie, Irene and myself. For the kids, however, the ten miles that lay ahead was still a rude awakening. Some of our kids made a speedy job of it, arriving in Seguin in three or four hours. I believe it took our last student about six hours to do the hike. Keep in mind that the last part of the hike we were greeted by a torrential downpour that lasted a good two, or three hours, with short sun breaks. That didn’t make the steep inclines very easy or fun.
We spent the weekend playing games, hiking to a waterfall (at the right time of the year, but at this time it was a trickle), eating good food, and laughing a considerable amount. We spent time in devotion with one another, and by Saturday night we found ourselves huddled in the common area of the main lodge with Robbie – the kids’ bible teacher – reading to us from John about the Passover meal. He set up a chair and a basin, and brought some water and oil. Robbie offered to wash the students’ feet, whoever wanted their feet washed, and invited kids to wash one another’s feet as an act of servant hood. In this moment all I could think about was how uncomfortable love is. How come we humans have such a beautiful, tidy idea of love? Especially as Christians we should know that love is truly uncomfortable! For crying out loud, we serve a God who sent His own Son, His only Son, to live a life on earth, living with people he loved and showing them how to live. He sent His Son knowing these same people he lived among would one day turn against him and nail him to cross, mocking him and beating him out of fear and hatred. Then, once he had died, they would bury him and refuse to see the miracle of his resurrection in three days time. That’s a messy, uncomfortable story.
All of our relationships are like this, generally not to this degree, but there is still this level of discomfort that is felt in a relationship that truly stems from love because, let’s face it, we are flawed beings, and if we ever hope to be loved we better hope that whoever loves us is willing to put up with the uncomfortable things we will say or do or wear, or whatever!
So in this moment, sitting in this common area with 23 high school students who are all uncomfortably staring at their Bible teacher, who genuinely loves them and wants to help them experience love, in this moment I couldn’t shake the knowledge that I am not used to the truth about love. Love is uncomfortable. True love, the kind of love that is worth having, this love that challenges us and prods us and coaxes us along, and in that process makes us uncomfortable. I don’t want to be in surface-level relationships with people who allow me to never change. I don’t want to serve a God who does not require growth from me. I don’t want a stagnant life and boredom and monotony. I want to experience love, and I want to be aware that the discomfort I encounter just might be challenging me to love better.