One day, my 5-year old daughter wanted to go visit her friend a few houses over. I don’t know what it was, but at the time she didn’t want to walk the 50 metre distance herself – and I, responsible parent that I am, not wanting her to develop unsustainable dependencies, didn’t want to walk her. So we reached a compromise: I would watch her from the door as she walked.
As she was walking, I became aware of her, attentive to her physical presence and movement on a deeper level than usual. And all I could feel was love. I felt protective, but happy for her young independence. I felt proud of her skills and abilities, both physical and mental, as she walked to play with her friend. Do you know how complicated that is, neurologically and physiologically? She looks like me. And she’s got my walk. Yet, she’s her own person. Every day she becomes that person more and more. It struck me, standing in the doorway that day, just how amazing that is. And just how much I love her.
I think that’s part of what love fundamentally is: Delighting in the plain and simple being of the one you love.
That’s why we spend hours of the phone with our crushes. Why we can spend ages simply looking at our kids sleep. Why it’s not awkward to sit in silence eating with our spouses. Why it hurts so much to lose someone. It’s not because they do anything for us, but simply because they are.
And there’s nothing more deeply fulfilling to get to be for someone else. We don’t have to perform. We don’t have to look a specific way. We can simply be – and be loved.
I can’t help but to think this is part of what John means when he says, “whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) God delights in our very being – which is where grace is born. He doesn’t require us to perform, only to be. He doesn’t reject us because of what we have done, because we are. He saves us because he loves us because we are.