“Jesus said love everyone….” Seriously? Everyone? I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I have that type of emotional bandwidth. However, I am beginning to understand that it is within the realm of possibility.
Allow me to explain, using personal references.
Back in 1986, I fell in love with my Chrissie. It was new, amazing, exciting and all-encompassing. My heart was full. I figured it was full to capacity.
Our first baby was born, and she stole my heart. How was it possible to find room in my heart for that little girl when it was completely full?
My heart grew 3 sizes that day…
I don’t know if anyone else experienced what I did when we had our second baby. I was nervous. Not that I worried if the baby would be okay, but I was truly nervous if I would be able to love this new baby boy as much as I loved his mom and sister.
Then he was born, and my heart grew again. It was simple, and amazing to me. Third, fourth, fifth children joined the family. I no longer feared my capacity to love them.
What was once 2 became 7.
Each time the capacity of my heart grew to envelope them as well. I look back at my naive worries that I would not have the capacity to love them all and realize I just didn’t know what was possible. The heart is very elastic. It can stretch and grow to amazing capacity, but it is something that has to be lived, not just theorized.
What was was 7 is now 19.
Amazingly, I love each and every one of them. (And to think I was worried if I could love more than one kid!)
The latest addition, my granddaughter Juniper not only expanded my heart, she melted it.
She is the latest person to take up residence in my heart, along with so many others. Who would have thought it was possible?
When we talk about the Savior loving everyone, it seems fantastical. But I do know that my life trajectory helps me to understand how it is possible. My capacity to love has grown exponentially over the years, and has extended far beyond the family that I know. It includes friends, people I have served and served with, and family that has gone before.
Tomorrow marks 24 years since my mom passed. The love I have towards her, and others who have gone before, fills my heart as well. Even ancestors whom I have never met seem to keep finding their way in. (Insert plug for family history here.)
When I reflect on these things, I begin to get a glimpse of what words like infinite and unconditional mean. God has granted us the ability and capacity to love bigger, stronger and more universal than we ever consider.
As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 3:17-19)
Can I comprehend the breadth, length and depth of Christ’s love? No, not yet – it, but I can get a small glimpse of how it can be as I think of the people who have expanded and taken residence in my ever-expanding heart.
With time, these limits can become limitless. Intriguing.