LOVE is loving what they love
Carter flipped the hamburgers on the grill, then turned back to his friend, Matt. “So how’s school going for you?”
Matt, an aspiring architect, leaned against the patio railing. “It’s still awesome. Lately we’ve been focusing on commercial architecture, which is what I’m hoping to pursue.”
“Yeah, I remember your craze for architecture from the good old high school days,” Carter chuckled. “You were always criticizing every single building, including the school itself.”
Matt grinned too. “I did, didn’t I?” He was about to add more, but just then Carter’s three-year-old daughter climbed the steps to the patio. “Hi, Sofia.”
“I brought you flowers,” she lisped, running to Matt. She held out a fistful of squished dandelions. Matt held out his cupped hands and the little girl deposited her gift in them.
“Why, thank you, Lady Sofia!” Matt exclaimed.
She joined her dad at the grill. “Daddy, will you watch over Molly for me?” She held out her doll. “I wanna pick flowers for Mommy too. And you.”
“Sure, I’ll watch Molly.” Carter laid down his hamburger flipper and took the doll. It was a raggedy thing, one that his wife had also played with as a little girl. One of the eye buttons had been missing forever and one leg had a big red Kool-Aid stain.
Sofia ran over the patio steps, then turned around. “Daddy, be careful! She’s sleeping. Don’t wake her!”
“I’ll be careful,” Carter promised.
The two friends watched Sofia run across the lawn, picking dandelions without their stems. After a while, she grew tired of picking flowers and gently set down her fistful of yellow beauties close to the swing set.
Cradling the doll on one arm, Carter checked on the burgers. They needed another few minutes. Carter turned back to Matt and stopped short at the goofy grin on his friend’s face. “What?” he demanded.
Matt shrugged, but didn’t bother removing the grin. “Nothing. Just… back in high school, you weren’t really the doll-cradling type. You were more… more the crush-all-the-guys-with-a-football type. And now you’re this model family man, holding one-eyed dolls as if they’re real.”
“Hey, don’t insult Molly! She’s family,” Carter joked. He glanced at his single, independent friend. “Just you wait. Someday I’ll bet you’ll be the one sitting on the floor putting together Disney puzzles. And you’ll enjoy it.”
“Maybe,” Matt agreed vaguely.
Carter noticed that Matt was still holding the squished dandelions Sofia had bestowed on him. He realized that despite Matt’s good-natured teasing, his friend wasn’t as far away from cradling ugly dolls as he liked to think. In fact, as Carter watched, Matt carefully set all the weed flowers in a neat row on the railing.
Carter smiled as he remembered something he’d heard a long time ago. Love is loving what they love. It wasn’t that he and Matt inherently loved rag dolls or dandelions. But they loved Sofia who loved those things. So, in turn, the men loved them too.
Carter carefully set the doll down on the railing to check on the burgers. While adding buns to the grill, Carter began to realize how much loving someone changes a person. Carter had developed an interest in hockey, thanks to his boss who was a big fan. His wife, who before getting married didn’t care about the difference between any cars or trucks (except their colours!), could now name the makes, models, years, pros and cons, of almost any vehicle they saw on the road.
The food had reached perfection, and Carter called for Sofia to come inside. The little girl dashed past them into the house. Carter grabbed the plate of burgers and headed for the door.
“Hey, you forgot Sofia’s doll!” Matt grabbed the miserable-looking doll and followed his grinning friend into the house.
I call it second-hand love or second-hand passion. Maybe that label makes it sound cheap, but it’s not. Though some people might call it a phony kind of love, I believe it’s kinda nice.
We’ve all seen it. Someone makes a new friend with a different interest. Soon this person becomes completely passionate about the same idea. It can be hobbies, tastes in music, opinions about politics, preferences in brands, and a dozen other things. And I know that sometimes people pretend to be excited about another’s interest in order to manipulate them, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about a genuine love for another person’s interests solely because you just love the person.
I’ve had it happen to me. Some of my craze phases are alarmingly short, but others last years. My friends, without consciously trying to, have inspired me to try photography, tons of cool new recipes, and different genres of music and books. They have given me new dreams and taught me to step out of my comfort zones. I’m blessed with friends who have very different tastes in almost everything. They enrich my life by simply being contagiously enthusiastic. When someone I love is extremely passionate about something, it’s all but impossible not to be drawn in.
My life would not be the same without the positive influences of my friends and family. By loving them, I’ve learned to love what they love. And while I’m grateful for my friends who influenced me to try new hobbies or listen to new artists, I’m most indebted to friends who encourage me spiritually. Some of you may never realize the influence you’ve had in my life. You’ve made my life richer by simply letting me observe how you love God, how you take time to search the Bible for answers, and how you serve God by serving others. I’ve been inspired by many of you.
So keep being passionate. Whether it’s about designing computer software, baking the perfect mocha cheesecake, photographing the Milky Way, playing beautiful sonatas on the piano, growing a lovely rosebush, saving lives as a paramedic, or knowing random facts about muscle cars… keep loving what you love. While I may shudder at the mere thought of stitching up people’s wounds, I love your passion about it. And while I may never understand anything about computer algorithms (that’s probably not even a proper term) or radiators or whatever cars have under the hood, I’ll appreciate your enthusiasm and I’ll be blessed by it.
Everybody should be passionate about something
One last thought on ‘love is loving what they love’. It also applies to God. If we truly love God, we will learn to love what He loves. What’s dearest to His heart? That’s what we will love as well.
Be blessed and live with passion.