Happy Valentine’s Day! In case you forgot there are still cars at the Dollar Store and chocolate at Mapco. And for you men who really know your wives heart Bass Pro Shop is running a special on tackle boxes. Knock yourself out. Actually in some relationships that would work just fine. We are all different in our needs and our desires and love gives us the opportunity to both express and meet those differences. We might say love has many faces.
In the 45th Chapter of Genesis today there are several different kinds of love expressed. Joseph has waited as long as he can to reveal himself to his brother’s. He has tested them. Forced them to be vulnerable to him. Now he has made himself vulnerable to them. He has given them every opportunity to fail. But now he has also given them every opportunity to get it right. Vulnerability gives the other the chance to be their very best self. When we finally take off our mask, let down our guard, make ourselves vulnerable in love there is a chance we will get hurt. But there is also the chance that we will see the other rise up and be a hero.
A few years ago, Jon-Mical was about 3 and Jennifer would drop him off at our house early in the morning in her way to school so that we could take him to preschool at the Methodist church down the road. One morning I came out, straight from bed, still in my robe, and I felt led to pray over Jon-Mical. I put my hands on his feet and prayed that God would guide his little steps all day long. I put my hands over his hands and asked God to bless everything that he set his hand to that day, make him good and smart and productive. I put my hands over his ears and eyes and asked God to filter everything this precious little boy would hear and see. And then I put my hands over his heart and asked Jesus to dwell in there all day long. It was a Norma Rockwell moment, a beautiful experience that deserved to be recorded on canvas for all humanity. I would call it “The Vulnerability of PoppyC.” It was an amazing time…Until Jon-Mical looked into my morning breath and said, “PoppyC, did somebody poop in your mouth?” Vulnerability hurts!
But vulnerability is the only way to truly know love. Joseph gets real. He tells who he is. He is vulnerable. His brother could have risen up in rebellion to hide their awful secret and killed him. His father could have said, “it’s just too painful. My son was dead, let him stay dead.” They all move closer to their better selves instead. The sons confess to the father. The father rejoices for his lost son. And here’s the interesting thing. The one who seems to be at peace the most in the story is Joseph. Joseph goes out on the biggest limb. Joseph stands to lose the most by getting honest. But Joseph is the one at peace.
Maybe in this Valentine’s Day I am seeing that the secret to a great, loving relationship is not how strong I am but how willing I am to be weak, to reveal my true self, to be vulnerable. I’m going to do it. “Doris, come in here. I want to talk to you. And oh, better bring the toothpaste!”
Today read Genesis 45, Psalm 45 and Acts 22. Tomorrow, Day 46. Wow!
Love to you all!