Feb 14, 2005
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend, 

      "Don't you just love it?"

      Pretty innocuous question, really. It's such a common query that it doesn't raise an eyebrow anywhere in most frequented circles ... that is, if you're a 21st Century American in the uppermost socioeconomic quartile.

      No one asks that question expecting anything other than a sure-thing "yes." If the question isn't rhetorical, it isn't ventured. It's a reactive response to a co-experiencer, like an exclamation point put after "wow" (when would "wow" ever be accurately uttered without a "!" ?)

      Godiva chocolate. A new BMW convertible. A week at a five-star resort. Front seats at a sold-out concert, featuring your favorite performer. A new "procedure" that resculpted something that enhanced one's appearance (and wasn't covered by insurance). Something so far from "necessity" that it stretched the meaning of "discretionary." "Don't you just love it?"

      Well, it's Love Day, 2005. In the modern public school environment, you can't say "Merry Christmas" without a lawsuit, but the traditions of Valentine's Day still have acceptability. As soon as kids can scratch their name legibly, they'll show up in their classroom with valentines for all the micropeople who share their sandbox. Prejudices that will later segment the school yard aren't yet in control; the hearts and cupids will be unleashed long before hormones show up to make it romantic. For one day, between the morning and afternoon carpools, little kids will exchange cards that suggest a hopeful affection: they say they love everybody.

      In the first grade classroom, they love everybody. About 30 years later, in 1st Class cabin, they love the stuff in the Duty Free catalog, or the vacation advertised in the Robb Report, or the new portable whiz-bang on the lap across the aisle. At six, they love the people; at 36, they love the stuff. What happened? "Don't you just love it?"

      Interesting slice of the human heart, this "love" business. We start out expecting to love people ... and then we get burned a few times. Our heart gets bruised by insensitive friends competing against us for something ... and they win, making us a loser. Our hearts get broken by the early love whose affection moves away from us before we're finished with the fantasy. The natural collisions of life violate the hopes of the heart ... and love becomes a risk that exceeds the reward.

      Not hard to see how love gets diverted from things that breathe to things that depreciate. If you let your heart get vulnerable with love for people, you're livin' with uncertainty...

      Here's an intriguing chain of thoughts on the subject of "love," on the Heart Holiday:

      >> God says that he is love; he is uniquely characterized by that distinguishing trait;

      >> Though he embodies love, he never talks about loving inanimate things ... though he is the creator of everything and lives outside the environment that was corrupted by man's sin;

      >> His love was the motivating force for the most incredible "love gift" ever exchanged, when he gave his only Son to rescue the people he loved from the consequences of their choices.

Hallmark will hope to define love during this annual working-holiday; for the rest of the year, heaven remains the best source of understanding: "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (I John 4:9-10).

      God never loved "it;" he loved you, and me ... and he put his Son on a cross to prove it. Jesus experienced our hell so that we could experience his heaven. Don't you just love him?


Bob Shank

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