At work I was eating lunch with some of my fellow trainees and the subject of our jobs happened to come up as one person announced that they were still debating whether or not to keep the job. They were thinking about giving it up and just living with their mom.
Another guy chimed in that he would do that, except he didn't like his dad. If it were just his mom and him, he'd think about doing that too.
Another lady announced that if she could afford to, she would never make her kids work and would be willing to let them just live with her for however long they wanted, never forcing them to have to work.
Time was getting close, so I took that opportunity to gather my things and go back to work lest I say something that would completely change the atmosphere of the table.
Something along the lines of - "I'm so sorry your parents don't really love you, and I'm sorry you don't love your kids."
Yeah, so you see why I walked away.
And sure, while I walked away I thought with gratitude concerning my parents requirement of chores and teaching me the value of hard work and money.
But it wasn't until later that I realized that the same thing applies to God as well. My growth hasn't just come without any type of cost. I have been allowed to struggle, and fight, and doubt, and yell, draw wrong conclusions, learn right conclusions, be wrong, lose friends, gain bad friends, be hurt.
It's easy to hope that love treats you well. Makes things nice for you. But too often - in our false ideas of what love is - we expect things to always be nice, to feel good, to be pleasant. We want it to be easy. We expect love to make things easy.
And despite my constant whining and crying over the issue...I'm so thankful that God loves me enough to let me struggle. To grow me, no matter how hard it is to teach me certain lessons. I'm so thankful for all the doubts, and all the fears that drove me to places with God I wouldn't have found otherwise.
I'm thankful that He loves me - every bit perfectly. Not afraid to do the hard things to me no matter how angry I get or how many times I hate Him for it. He's willing to let me walk away for a time, to let me be distant.
If I feel bad when a customer I don't even know gets frustrated with me - how great a love does He have for me that He's willing to do absolutely whatever it takes. I'm constantly amazed by His love. And through it, I see what love really should be. And I see how selfish love is the one that never challenges.
Fair warning to foster children everywhere - if you get stuck with me I'm going to truly love you as best as I can. Niece, Nephew - I'm going to truly love you the best that I can. And you may not enjoy it. But you'll be better people because of it.
Love someone today. Just don't expect people to appreciate it right away. :)