As winter begins to slip its icy tendrils more and more into each day, I am drawn back to warmer times. The following is a true story. It happened a few years ago on South Beach on Martha’s Vineyard. It involves something called “The Five Love Languages”. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, please read this primer before continuing. It will be well worth your while, regardless of whether you read the following.
Like many others, I find the ocean a place where reflecting on God and His creation comes naturally. So it was that I found myself sitting on the beach early one morning before the crowds arrived. I had been spending the time in prayer, reflection, scripture reading, and (as is my custom) complaining to God.
The gist of my complaint was that He doesn’t speak my love language, which is physical touch. I speak and respond to gestures such as a hug, a hand shake, or a pat on the back. God, not currently inhabiting a physical body as far as I know, simply wasn’t up to that task. I felt cheated and shortchanged.
He is fluent in all the other languages. He shares quality time with me always by His Spirit and has showered me with gifts such as family, friends, food, and shelter. His word contains enough words of affirmation for a lifetime and he performed the greatest act of service in history through his Son, Jesus.
Where did that leave me? Where was my hug? How about a little peck on the cheek or a simple caress? So I sat and sulked, indignantly digging my feet into the warm sand as the cool morning breeze bit my ears. That’s when it hit me. The hug of the sand around and between my toes. The wind, infused with salt and moisture lifted from the nearby breaking waves, kissing my cheeks. The sun caressing my skin with its warmth.
God was speaking my language. I had only to listen.