Kristin Collins on Genuine Love

Be forewarned that this is going to be a sentimental read 🙂

Sometimes we discover deep wisdom in the great books by great men and women; such are the blessings of tried-and-true tradition, or the “democracy of the dead” as Chesterton called it. But certain other times, we are lucky enough (and listen well enough) to find it over coffee and berry pancakes with our best friend. Kristin Collins is my best friend, and a few mornings ago, she (unknowingly) reminded me what genuine love means.

And because I wouldn’t be her BFF4EVER if I didn’t try to publicly embarrass her: when you fail at baking but taste sweet success in a food fight

I had to put the “genuine” in front of “love” because there is so much muddiness amidst the conflicting narratives we’re told these days. Genuine love does last forever, but only because it is a binding, daily decision (ah did someone say covenant?). Genuine love does inspire you to do great things (I mean look at this), but only because doing great things is a side-effect of wanting to make another person happy. Genuine love does mean becoming thoroughly vulnerable, but only because at the end of the day, you are two friends that see the same truth.

So in everyday life, genuine love looks a lot like being patient. Like holding yourself and those you love to the highest standard, but having mercy 70×7 times because no one is perfect.

It is relentless, when you ask your best friend (almost every night she’s home) if she wants to have a sleepover, even when she has rarely been able to the past seven years. It is embracing a sinner while denouncing a sin. It is sharing our small moments, because the present is the fullest gift we can give.

The bottom line is this: you are loved not because of what you do but because of who you are. Only then can we finally understand mercy– the over-abundant and unconditional form of love. The opposite delusion arises with the help of our falsely individualistic culture that removes us from the one place where we can best know ourselves– within our families. When the circumstances leave us with no answer for who we are, we are left to assign our worth to what we do. Unable to understand our personhood within the context of our family– think about how little brothers may always bring out our adventurous side and mothers, a passionate desire to be more hospitable– we are left jumping from place to place, dizzy since there is so much to  do and become distracted by.

This is why is is crucially important not to get caught up on a branch while trying to climb the tree. Work, business, and productivity are important things, but they are not the main thing (boy did I learn that the hard way this past semester). My dear Kristin reminded me that the real question I should be trying to answer is did you love?

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.


Additional reading: The Lesson that Took Me 20 Years to Learn

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~A Sunday Well Spent~

“Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly”

-G.K. Chesterton

As my fondness for writing has resolutely forged itself into an enthusiastic, habitual coping mechanism, so I find myself at the keyboard this hour – while visions of accounting dance through my head. First, I must admit that I have begun no less than three new posts this week, but unfortunately Time has not been so kind as to grant me her refuge. In plain, collegiate vernacular: I don’t want to sound like an idiot by posting incomplete thoughts. Hopefully you can bear with me, come to appreciate my foresight, and exercise patience – as I have no doubt that you are in full command of such a refined quality. Luckily, this post right here was somewhat of an early Christmas miracle as it was nearly written for me. I heard the seeds of it today in a most cheering sermon. Three main insights I would like to share tonight:

1. You have a great work to prepare for right here, right now, that will make the world very proud of you. As you labor toward that finis, find the present beauty and fulfillment in a hard day of work done well.

2. As you go about this work, remember you have been given another layer of responsibility: being an occasion of joy for others. See every interruption as an invitation.

3. Having said that, you’re not Jesus (thank goodness). Always be humble enough to know that you cannot do it all, and everything will still be alright.

n.b. ALWAYS say yes to funny Christmas card photo-shoots with friends. And teddy bears.

Here’s to the things more important than sleep!