Let me explain……
God is love, right? Yes. (1 John 4:8). The more I learn about God and the more I learn about love, the more this statement rings true. God IS love. I know that all He does is motivated by love and I strongly suspect that it is His intense love that gives Him His immense power. I also believe that all love comes from God; He is the source. It flows from Him as water flows from a spring and, like water, brings life to all that take it in.
This is where the pipe fits in……..
Love from God flows to me but it can also flow through me. It can flow through me to touch the lives of those with whom I associate. I can be a conduit, a pipe so to speak, carrying God’s love to others and, when I do, it feels warm, comfortably warm, deliciously warm, sometimes even hot. Like a hot shower on a cold morning, it is a feeling I cannot get enough of. Blessedly, unlike a hot shower on a cold morning, the water heater never empties!
I’ve been in the pipeline position a lot lately.
Lori gave us tickets to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional; an act of love that I hope warmed her. At the last minute (okay not quite the last minute, actually 15 minutes before we had to leave), Lance declared himself too ill to attend. Against most odds, I called Michelle, hoping she’d be eager and available to attend. She was both; in fact, she was not only eager and available but also excited and enthused. It was so cool (in a warming sort of way) to share a sacred experience with a special friend. I love, love Michelle and I love, love the feeling of loving her.
Lonnie, my next-door-neighbor, south side, said, “What would your kids think if I used my mower to pick up your leaves so they would not have to rake them?” It was one of easiest questions I’ve been asked lately. “They would think you are the greatest ever!” I told him. He did and they do. I get a warm feeling every time I look at our frost-covered front yard.
Chris, my next-door-neighbor, north side, gave me a box of chocolates. Talk about a warm feeling! I hid them in my dresser and ate them one-a-day, savoring the salivary sensation. My chocolates ran out before my days did. I suspect someone has been in my drawers…..(Lance?!?!?!)
The kids, the three at home, all have new pajamas in their drawers. Darling John, the neighbor four-doors-down-and-around-the-corner, bought superhero footie pajamas for them. Every time they wear them (which is a LOT) their feet are warm and so is my “pipe”.
Pipes were figuratively bursting at school Wednesday; the love-flow nearly overflowed. Miles brought a lamb and was surrounded on the playground by adoring classmates, which he loved. Then he sat on a chair inside and all three 5th grade classes, one class at a time, sat at his feet on the floor while he taught them about sheep—things like “We cut off its tail so that it can poop properly” and “Look, it does not have any teeth on its top jaw”—which he loved. Hearing him articulate agriculture, seeing him gain the respect of his peers and teachers, and feeling him radiate in the spotlight was a definite warm-pipe experience for me.
Being a teacher gives me a pipe organ worth of warm pipe opportunities. Ethan struggles with school in general and with writing in particular, consequently he falls behind in class. Because school is not a pleasant experience for him he does not finish school work at home which means that he falls further behind. This week I made him stay after school with me to catch up; he was not excited about the “mandatory party” to which I invited him.
We worked together for an hour. I encouraged, Ethan resisted…I encouraged more, Ethan relented reluctantly…I continued encouraging and Ethan took off (not literally). He ended up scoring 100% on a rock identification quiz, completing multiple missing assignments and writing his own science fair proposal, which took his grade from a low percentage F to a C+. Best of all was the twinkle in his eye as he complained when I asked him to help me stack chairs at the end of our “party”. He left knowing that a non-related adult cares personally about him. I know that it was God’s love he felt through me; I hope someday he knows that too.
Tabor, another student, gave me the sequel to Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy. I read it and loved it and told her so. She enthusiastically gave me the titles of three more books with similar themes; “They’re better” she said, “with more magic.” My pipe was warmed by her initial gift. Her pipe was warmed by my thanks. My pipe was warmed by her additional recommendations. And her pipe will be warmed when I read and report back on those books. In science we call this a positive feedback loop.
As we were cleaning up after the ward Christmas party, Jimmy gave me some positive feedback. “Can I give you a hug?” he asked. YES!!. [Hugs from Jimmy are something; he is a strong man.] “Thank you,” he told me, “Thank you for all that you have done for me.” ??? I haven’t done anything specific for Jimmy. I do love him (LOTS) and apparently he has felt that love, love that originated from God, which I love. His hug and words gave me warm feelings inside and out.
Perhaps we feel the conduit qualities of God’s love most intensely with our own children. The joy they give can only be described as divine.
“Mom,” Grace said, “What if we ……..” She suggested something we could do at our annual Christmas Eve party. She must have sensed the harried tone in my response because she paused and said, “Would you like me to be in charge of the game?” Oh yes, please. “Mom,” she continued, after another pause, “You seem to have to do everything. Would you like me to be in charge of the entire party? If you’d like I will just take care of the whole evening.” Yes, oh yes, OH YES! I felt God’s love through her and it warmed my entire being.
In this epistle’s beginning I described myself as a conduit for God’s love however, as I re-read what I have written, I realize that most of the stories I scribed are of me receiving God’s love through the pipes of others. Isn’t that how love works? We give and we receive and we all are warmed in the process. God is truly brilliant.