14 Dec 2011
We Leak What We Love
I’m taking the surgeon who repaired the damage done by a witch doctor to a brave little Ugandan boy out flying in a seaplane I have up the Pacific Northwest today. This doctor did what seemed impossible to me. He made new body parts out of old ones for this little boy. This trip is a small thank you for what he did. He loves to fly, and I’m delighted that I can help make that happen.
The plane is called a DeHavilland Beaver and it takes off and lands on the water. I can’t lie, this plane is tough, it’s rugged, it’s all guy. There’s no sound quite like the one it makes when it’s huge radial engine starts and a cloud of oil soaked blue smoke explodes out of it. Because it was built over fifty years ago, the engine leaks oil. Not a little oil; lots of it. There’s nothing wrong with the plane, it’s just what Beavers were designed in the factory to do; they leak. The oil gets on the windows, on the wings, on the passengers, on everything. It’s just great! People who own Beavers say with tongue in cheek, that you know when they’ve run out of oil, because they stop leaking.
I understand more about my faith when I think about that Beaver. We were made to leak as well; we were made to leak Jesus. We’re the ones who are supposed to love each other extravagantly, spontaneously, not just on Wednesday nights or Sunday mornings. And when we do, people might look at us a little funny, like there’s something wrong with us. But there isn’t. It’s what we were made to do. When we love each other extravagantly, our love gets on everybody and everything.
I know when I’m fearful, stressed out, distracted or hedging too. In those times, it feels like I’ve run out of love and what I notice always happens first, is that I stop leaking. My love isn’t as messy or spontaneous anymore. It doesn’t get on anything. It comes across as painfully polite, merely pleasant, barely tolerant, it’s somewhere in the mid-range rather that an explosion from a big engine and lots of blue smoke. When I stop leaking, I’m reminded that I’m not living the way I was designed to from the factory.
I’ve seen new parts made out of old ones by this surgeon. I’ve seen God do the same impossible thing with entire people. People like me. He takes the old version of us and whispers to us that we were made to leak our love. He tells us to do it with extravagance; to let it get on everything and everybody. What I like about the way God extravagantly loves us, is that He doesn’t make us love Him or anyone else either. Instead, He lets us decide every day whether we’ll play it safe or leak what we love.
When I get out of that plane this afternoon it will have oil all over it; I’ll have oil all over me and I’ll smile hoping that everyone who’s been near you will have evidence of what you love all over them too.