First Friday: A Sacred Love

Our 25 Days of Giving series will return on Monday. For today, enjoy Sara Cormany's reminder that Jesus came to bring us a sacred love.

The sacred can be found in the most humble of places.

You may find it waiting at home. Or standing vigil in a hospital room. Or even lying in a manger.

But no matter where you discover its presence, there can be no denial of its existence.

Even in a world full of cynicism and selfishness and general unhappiness. the sacred cries out in hope that we will stand up and pay attention.

I heard it cry one Tuesday evening.

And believe it or not, strange or no, it began with a pot of salty soup.

Enter me, standing at the stove furiously stirring a pot of potato yumminess, courtesy of Bear Creek Soup Company and my ability to add water.

Nearly five minutes to soup perfection, I began to add a little spice here, a little pepper there. And then came the salt. But alas, there was nothing little about this addition.

In fact, it was more of a salt dump.

I quickly transformed from Martha Stewart to Mad Madam Mim.

The transformation was made complete with shrieking, squawking and communicating general distress. Ended only by a tub of sour cream. And my nearly 7-year-old’s admonition, “Mom, you HAVE to calm down. It’s only soup.”

And it was only soup.

But it was the soup I was bringing to a sweet family whose Mama was walking her final leg Home. It was the offering I wanted to make to a dear friend who had been there for me, even when it appeared I had one foot here and one foot in eternity. And I wanted it to be perfect.

But time ran out.

And so salty soup and all, we hopped in the van, headed to the nursing home and picked up a bag of Hershey’s kisses on the way.

Because really, chocolate makes everything better?

Right?!?!?

Now I am sure you have already come to this on your own but just in case, the answer is no. Even chocolate, I’m afraid, cannot best Alzheimers. Or the pain of saying goodbye.

Coming to this truth just a little too late, I began to feel as though I understood what the wise men must have felt when they offered their gifts to a King. As I walked through the parking lot, my salty soup, salad and chocolate seemed so small compared to the incredible sacrifice of its recipients. Ridiculous, even.

But the moment I walked through that nursing home door, my offering, my insecurity and my unworthiness faded quickly into the greatness of the precious offering in front of me.

It was an offering of love given faithfully and willingly not for mere hours or days, but for years. Every dark circle, unsteady hand and slowed step communicated a never-giving-up kind of love. And in the midst of seeing such a precious family immersed in the final leg of an exhausting journey, I could not help but be struck by the beauty of their battle scars.

It wasn’t just any beauty, mind you. It was the kind that punches you in the gut. It was the brand that takes your breath away, the eternal kind that doesn’t even seem possible here.

This was the real deal. This was the sacred.

It lined the walls of Mama’s room in sweet handprints on bright yellow paper, lovingly made by grandbabies. It shone through the photographs on the nightstand, the mementos on the shelf beside the door, evidence of a life well-lived and well-loved. But most of all, it brought a spirit of hope into a room that I had unwisely thought would have had none.

But Hope was there, my friends.

Even in the tears and the heartache and the sacrifice, Hope was most assuredly there.

Maybe it was that which made the tears flow all the way home. Maybe my heart just needed to cry out for the love of my friend. But maybe, just maybe, it was being so near to Jesus, so close to His sacred love and the promise of eternity, that I had nothing left but tears to give.

In a world where love can be selfish and arrogant and short-lived, I had been privileged to stand spectator to a love that was willing to go to hell and back, not once, not twice but every day for the last few years.

And in that remembrance, I found a piece of me that went back in time. To a stable and a manger and an offering of eternal love. It wasn’t comfortable or easy or earthly beautiful.

It was so much more.

With every cry in the straw, every insult to His name and every thorn in His crown, Jesus gave the world a glimpse at a never-giving-up kind of unfailing love. In every wound and scar, this love shouted, “This is what beauty looks like!” And it wasn’t just any kind of beauty, mind you.

It was the punch-you-in-the-gut kind. The brand that takes your breath away. The kind that doesn’t even seem possible on this side of eternity.

This, friends, was the real deal. This was the sacred.

It lined the edges of His swaddling clothes, lovingly wrapped by a mama’s hands. It shone through His healing touch, His care for the weak and His love for the unlovely, all testament to what a life well-lived and well-loved closely holds. And in His precious sacrifice, He brought Hope into a world that had none.

But most of all, Jesus redefined the meaning of love for all of humanity.

He gifted the world with a love that trades the selfish for selfless, arrogance for humility and the short-lived for the eternal. Be it in a crazy girl’s meager offering or in a hospice room or on a Cross, real love will journey wherever it is asked to go.

Even when we’d rather not, even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, Jesus cries to us,

“Precious ones, choose my love. Even on the days where you must go down to the very pit of hell and back, please, please, please choose my love. I know your fear, your hesitation and even your hurt, but rest in this truth, I’ve paved a path all the way to eternity that will show you how it's done.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.