One of the most poignant scenes during the various events eulogizing the life of George H. W. Bush, at least to me, was watching former Sen. Bob Dole rise from his wheelchair and salute the flag draped casket of President Bush. Once upon a time they were political rivals; Dole lost, Bush won the nomination for President. The fight for the nomination was bitter. After Bush became president and Dole was the Republican leader in the Senate, they worked together to accomplish their goals.
It would have been easy for these two fierce competitors to continue the rivalry after Bush was elected; they chose to do the hard thing and set aside the bitterness in favor of maintaining relationship. Perhaps in the beginning it was grudging, who knows? But on the day that Bob Dole said good-bye to the President, the nation watched transfixed as Dole paid tribute to his rival who became his friend. At 95 years of age, Bob Dole cannot stand without assistance. He could have stayed home and written a nice note of condolence to the family. Instead, he was driven to the Capital, loaded into his wheelchair and pushed into the room that held the casket of President Bush. His aide helped him to stand, and Dole raised his arm in salute. It was a tribute to not one, but two men who refused to choose rivalry over relationship.
It ought to be REALLY HARD to end a relationship because, if we are intent on bearing the image of God, we have worked so very very hard on loving others. In many ways, it needs to become almost automatic, this inclination to love well. It is certainly at the core of who we were all created to be - but this does not mean that we are particularly good at remembering that, does it? We should work so hard on loving, that loving is what we do. And if we must, absolutely must, end a relationship, it should feel unnatural and not our preference or an act of convenience.
Relationships morph constantly; few last a lifetime. We value them because the capacity to love others is the essence of humanity. When they end, we may come to acceptance and know that it is the best decision under the circumstances, but that does not make it easy.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 1 Corinthians 13:12-13, The Message
What can we do that will help us become better lovers, compassionate leavers, and honorable image bearers?