My brother does this thing.
There are so many things that he could say instead, as most people do. I’m sorry. Feel better. A soft, murmured, poor thing. A pat on the back, a sympathetic groan, a thoughtful do you need anything? They’re all things we say to people that are sick and really hurting, and they’re all perfectly wonderful things to say. They truly make me feel a little bit better.
But my little brother looks up at you with a soft smile and offers up a quiet, songlike “I love you”. Sure, he says the other things, too. But somewhere in there that simple phrase softly emerges, putting emphasis on the love every time – “I love you” – as if those three words could go farther than a healing of the soul to a physical healing of my body. And that seems ridiuclous at first. Why would he say that? Great, but how’s that going to make me better? The thing is, I have never once thought that when I hear the words leave his mouth. It never makes me bitter, because it’s hard to look at pure love and feel upset.
And I think my little brother has the right idea. I think (as much as I want to separate the two) that the soul and the body are more closely linked than we imagine or want to believe. Love is so much stronger than we even realize, and we don’t see that. We look for complex solutions, pragmatic findings, things that can be tested and proven. And of course this matters. But sometimes – most of the time – we need to know that we are loved as much as we need medicine or the right diet. It might not heal our bodies by itself (although I have no doubt that it helps), but it reaches in and heals our hearts.
When we’re the most vulnerable, all we want to know is that we are valued, loved, and cherished. That’s why those other things mean so much, too. The sympathy, hugs, acts of service. They’re all ways of sharing an immense love, and it’s a beautiful things in the midst of feeling absolutely awful.
Love heals. Jesus cares about our bodies as well as our souls – why else would he have healed all the people that he did? It was a way to show his love and his power to them and also meet their needs. Not only that, but he healed us completely, in all our being. Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins was the ultimate sacrifice of his very life that brought the ultimate and eternal healing of our souls. We’ll get new bodies, too, in a resurrection to mirror His. We will beraisedwith Him to live in eternity, forever made new and forever healed.
I’ve had the flu since Sunday, when I woke up with a fever. I’m not going to pretend that I’m enjoying this, or that this is how I really wanted to spend my Spring Break (truthfully, it’s pretty terrible). It’s really, really difficult to find the bright side in spending my only week at home on the couch in the study, surrounded by meds, toast, blankets, a thermometer, and Netflix (okay, that sounds kind of nice, now add the flu).
But I am loved, and I know that. I am loved so much more than I deserve. And a hug, just being held by someone who knows full well that I’m contagious, is one of the most beautiful things in the world.
Read this: “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Also, I read Blue Like Jazz (<click) a few days ago, and it was brilliant and amazing. Go buy it now, or check it out from the library, or borrow it from a friend. It’s beautiful, and fantastic, and honest, and I loved it. I don’t really know how to explain it. So read it, and maybe I’ll write a post on it soon.
See this: I’ve watched a heck of a lot of TV these past few days. I wouldn’t recommend that telenovela or the end of the Mummy #3 (I think…?) where Brendan Fraser and his attractive British son use great teamwork to stab a Chinese mummy (uh)… But the 1950’s version of The Importance of Being Earnest was pretty fantastic. My family’s also forced me to watch a heck of a lot of Burn Notice, and I’ve watched some Phineas and Ferb (NO REGRETS). Oh, and expect something soon about Breakfast at Tiffany’s.