love to you

Me doing some organic chemistry in front of a cross

Taken by my friend, Amanda, probably after we finished Biochemistry lecture for the day. I’m sitting in front of the St. Joan of Arc chapel at Marquette University.

I keep a diary. That’s no secret. Nearly every single entry in my diary (which dates back to January 1, 2005) ends with a salutation addressed to myself: “Love to you,”.

I first saw that salutation on Jason Mraz’s (now defunct) blog. I thought it was very clever. In the first place, it’s not the typical salutation like, “Sincerely,” or, “Love,”. Secondly, it reminds me that love is something that is sent which necessitates that it is an active action. I cannot love you if I do not do anything. Further, I cannot love you if my impetus to love does not come from within. I must first love you in abstract before I can love you in some material or tangible manner.

I also anticipate that love is something we never grow tired thinking about (says the single man). The other day I was driving home after work thinking about a patient that had come in for a pre-surgery evaluation. As the doctor and the patient began to discuss the surgery, the dramatic phrase came up: “Money is not an issue. In this situation, we have to do it.”

In my car, I began to think about that phrase and the relationship of cost and security. Generally, we pay a premium for goods we desire. Then I thought about how I and others buck the trend by taking pleasure in cheap goods. An example is the marriage proposal with a plastic ring purchased from a 25 cent vending machine, or eating McDonald’s on date night instead of a steak at a steakhouse. Then I thought about expressing love through the purchase of material goods. I think I show my little siblings my love for them when I buy them movies that we can watch together. Those movies aren’t expensive which indicates that spending a lot of money isn’t proportional to the amount of love expressed.

OK, good. Seal the deal. More money doesn’t mean more love. But for some reason that idea lingers. For some reason we seem to romanticize expense. If I may flaunt my (7+ years of) German, we romanticize the Teuer (expensive) and not the Billig (cheap). Is there merit to this idea? Let me suggest yes and use Christ as my example.

Christ paid an incredible expense to demonstrate his love for us. At the risk of being brief, let me put it clearly: Christ loved me and died for me even though I didn’t love him (Romans 5:8). What greater expense is there than giving up our lives for those that we love? Isn’t this what parents do for their children? Isn’t this what the brothers in Tae Guk Gi demonstrated? We rarely give up ourselves to the extent that Christ did for us, but we do give away parts of ourselves in different ways when we love each other.

So the next time you end a letter remember that your “Love,” actually means “Love to you,”. And when you think about “Love to you,”, remember that you are loving by sending some part of you.

And if you are a Christian, the next time you say that you love Jesus, pray that you mean it to the extent that Christ meant it. “Christ, I love you,” seeks the company of those desiring to pay the greatest expense.

And remember that a single man once told you to always think about (Christ’s) love–because that’s all single people ever think about.

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