The love for equals is a human thing–of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing–the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing–to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints. And then there is the love for the enemy–love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world. ~ Frederick Buechner
I made a checklist as I was reading Buechner tonight. I considered what kind of lover I am. Here are my results. You can try it, too, if you like.
Love for my friends and family and kindred souls. You bet!
Love for those who suffer and struggle, who fail and have been less fortunate than I have been. The poor, the sick, the unlovely and the ungrateful. Most of the time.
Love for the more fortunate. Unusual category. Love for those who succeed where I fail, for the wealthy, the famous. So far so good. Love for those who have much but give little. Love for the selfish, the arrogant and the prideful. Not sure.
Love for the one who mocks, threatens, inflicts pain on me. Sometimes. Love for the one who mocks, threatens, inflicts pain on those I love the most. Less likely. Love for the intolerant, the hate monger, the abuser, the torturer. Not so much.
For the love of God, I have boxes that need work. I’m a great theoretical lover. But love isn’t theory. If it isn’t practiced, it isn’t love.
You’ll know them by their love. I want to be known for that; known as a lover, the grateful recipient of grace who never, for a moment, hesitates to offer it to others.