Monday, July 7, 2014

No Greater Love

     Today is a very special day.  On this day, ten months ago, Josh and I officially started dating.  It just sort of happened, and I couldn't be more thankful that it did.  It marked a new phase of my life.  But it wasn't so much the beginning of something as it was the continuation of my life with Josh by my side.  I don't know how I managed without him for so long!

     That being said, I just wanted to take the time to today to reflect on one aspect of young ( and old!) relationships that I find to be so vital: selflessness.  I do realize that several of the posts on this blog have been about love and selflessness.  Yet, my aim with this particular post is not to continue expounding on it, but to share a memory that I've held close to my heart for some time, a memory that I feel shows selflessness in one of its purest forms.

     This past April saw its share of tears and pain.  As I've mentioned before, Josh and I were going through a rough patch at the time.  There were hurt feelings on both sides, which made it hard to find peace within our relationship.  There were times when I'd get so upset about one thing or another that I'd take it out on Josh or completely give him the cold shoulder.  While he was and has always been the more open one, I've been the person that takes much longer to open up.

     One night, as I was lying in my bed trying to fall asleep, I began to feel terrible, even more terrible than I usually felt during that difficult time.  Lying there, I felt the weight of the world crushing me, suffocating me to the point where I felt I couldn't breathe and couldn't go on.  It was a truly dark moment.  My heart was so heavy that I could have sworn it was detaching itself from inside my body and sinking to my stomach.  I felt so empty and lost, yet I hurt so much.  It was a brutal paradox.  In all my life, I don't know that I've felt more alone.

     By the grace of God, Josh happened to be hanging out with friends in my dorm that night.  He was just a floor or two beneath my own.  I remember texting him and asking if he could come to my room if it wasn't too much trouble.  Of course, he responded immediately and within minutes, he was in my room.  I remember asking him was if he would hold me until I fell asleep.  After that, all I remember is Josh squeezing into the tiny bed beside me, softly stroking my hair and comforting me until I drifted off to sleep.  Though I was still hurting, his mere presence lifted some of the heaviness from my heart, to the point where it was once again bearable.

     Looking back, I realize that the night could have been so much different had Josh not been there.  I praise God that he was there for me then and has continually been there for me.  Time and time again, Josh has showed me what it means to be truly selfless.  He's shown me how to love unconditionally and without limit.  Josh could have chosen to ignore my texts that night.  He certainly would have had every reason to.  I had treated him terribly so many times during that period in our relationship.  Yet, Josh chose to drop what he doing and come to my rescue.  It was beautiful.  

     Even after all these months, that memory still makes me tear up.  It reminds me of John 15:13, which says, "There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."  Josh may not have literally sacrificed his life, but he set aside his hurts and his needs and instead chose to focus on mine.  THAT is selflessness.  THAT is sacrifice.  By lying next to me while I fell asleep, Josh was sacrificing "self".  He was completely taking "self" out of the equation.  And that is exactly what makes relationships work, the ability to set aside your own needs and meet your partner's.

     Selflessness has been one of the most valuable things that Josh has taught me over these past ten months.  You can't have true love without it.  If you never put "self" aside, you'll never know the true, lasting love that Christ desires us to have in all our relationships.  And I must tell you, it is a beautiful, pure love.  It is a love that completely changes your way of thinking as well as living.

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