"Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action." - 1 John 3:18
If I were called to it, I could easily write a television series based on my [former] dating life. It was that dramatic. I see Buzzfeed stories about ridiculous pickup lines, listicles with the ten warning signs of a bad date, and I say, "pshaw!" I've seen all that and then some.
In the midst of my dramatic dating life, my friend "Jax," who, let's say, has had quite a bit of experience in dating, offered advice. I would bring him encouraging examples of things my dates would say, hoping he would affirm that maybe this one was THE ONE and once and for all I would be done with all of this exhausting nonsense. After all, I was dating like it was my job while, in fact, I had a real job.
Here's a typical exchange.
Date: I've never met anyone like you! You're phenomenal!
Me (in my head): Oh my goodness, this is it!
Jax: Let that fool show and prove.
This was always the pattern. I would share some exciting conversation, and Jax would be unimpressed. Words meant very little, he would warn. Let the date show and prove.
In so many aspects of our lives, we might be swayed by gentle speech or the slick tongue of people adept at the art of seduction. But it's not in word or speech that we come to know another person. It's in truth and action. Let the others show and prove who they are. And, when they do, as Maya Angelou taught, let us believe them.
Holy Lover, you have shown us what it means to love and be loved. May we know love when we encounter it. And when people show us that love is not their aim, may we have the courage to see it, to set it aside, and to turn to you, instead.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Minister of The Table, United Church of Christ of La Mesa, California.