My Grandma Queen had a lot of strong opinions. After a stroke, she became even more opinionated about certain things. Particularly in her likes and dislikes.
Instead of not liking something, she HATED it. If a show came on TV that she didn’t like, she HATED it. When a song came on the radio she didn’t like, she HATED it. If someone disagreed with her opinion, she HATED that person.
I remember my dad once laughing when she proclaimed she hated something, and he just looked at her and said, “Mom, the Bible tells us not to hate. So, maybe instead of saying you hate something, you should just say that you ‘dislike it intensely.'”
Without skipping a beat, my grandma looked at him and said, “well, I dislike saying that intensely.”
That exchange still makes me laugh a little, and yet it makes me think. Instead of hating, we should dislike intensely. But what about love?
How many times a day do I say I LOVE something? Let’s see: I LOVE that episode of Gilmore Girls that was on at the gym when I worked out in the morning; I LOVE that song playing on the radio as I drove to work; I LOVE that scone I picked up from the bakery; I LOVE that email my friend sent me; I LOVE the last book I read; I LOVE that pair of shoes I saw online; I LOVE snuggling with Bazinga; I LOVE getting text messages from my husband throughout the day; I LOVE, I LOVE, I LOVE.
In fact, if I were to list the number of things in a day that I say I love, the list would be pretty long. But do I actually mean that I love them? Or, like my grandma, should I rather say I “LIKE them intensely?”
Because although the Bible also tells us to love, I don’t think God wants us to give away our love freely to just anything. Perfect love comes from God. And while I believe God has very strong feelings about the world he created and the creatures in it, I believe that God reserves his wonderful, perfect, all-consuming love for his people. For you and me. He may like intensely the universe and all of the beauty and wonders he created, but He only loved one thing enough to die for it: us.
So, for things that I truly love: God. My husband. My family. My friends. My dog.
I may say that I love my house, my books, my clothes, my job, the dessert I had last night, and a million other things, but what I really mean is that I like them intensely.
The things that I really love can never be replaced.