I was eight years old and in 3rd grade when I began getting my education in the core issue of life. Her name was Ginger Humphrey, and she was wonderful. Everything about her was perfect. I was raised with four brothers, and all my friends were boys. I knew almost nothing about girls. There was my mom, but moms used to be girls but are now in a different category. If this is what girls are going to be like, life will be wonderful. Did I talk to her? Of course not. She was far too amazing for someone like me to speak to her. I told my best friend how I felt about her, but he didn’t see it. So, it was in the third grade that I also discovered that sometimes your friends aren’t smart enough to see the obvious. I had never heard the songs about unrequited love and the misery that it brings. I was content to look on from the sidelines. I liked loving her.
The following year I was in a different school miles away. Another wonderful female came into the picture. This time it was my teacher. I paid close attention to every word she said and was sad when it was time to leave the class for the day. Here was a wonderful person that I actually talked to. One day, she was standing in the front as the children were leaving. I put my arms around her and hugged her as I passed her. Within a few days, all the kids in the class hugged her before they left. A few days later, while hugging her, I said, “I love you.” She, in turn, responded with the same. Again within a few days, all of the kids said I love you to her. I didn’t mind. In fact, I might have been upset if they didn’t love her. Anyone who didn’t love her just wasn’t paying attention.
None of this had anything to do with sex. I didn’t know anything about sex. My brother Fred, who was two years older, dropped that information bomb on me later that year. I assured him he was wrong, “Mama wouldn’t do that.” I took the matter to my brother Bob who was in the 8th grade and wise to the world’s ways. He confirmed what Fred had told me. I didn’t take the question to my oldest brother Tom who was now a sophomore in high school. I was sure he had moved on to thinking about other things.
As I got older, sex clouded the subject of love. Even the words people used to talk about it got jumbled and sounded the same. That simplicity of loving someone and expecting nothing in return had slipped away. I think our language has let us down on that front. The Greeks have at least four words for love.
God is love. That is the core issue of life. Apart from that, life would make no sense. When I was 14, the Lord showed me love, while standing on a sidewalk. I spoke about this in a previous post. God From the Sidewalk Receiving that kind of love is life-changing. God made us so that we could copy him and give his kind of love to others.
Photo by Johannes Plenio
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