No one would blame her for bailing out on her paranoid schizophrenic husband, right?
Alicia was a bright, talented, attractive young lady with her whole life ahead of her. John saw people who were not there and got easily caught up in conspiracies that were false. Shock therapy and drugs were the only treatment options at the time, but they drained his energy.
John’s entire life to that point was his search for an original theory. His social skills were poor and his efforts to connect with women were clumsy and often resulted in a slap in the face and outright rejection. But then he met Alicia. She was attracted to his genius, his ability to “see images and numbers” and his raw honesty. Her heart was inexplicably drawn to his.
I re-watched the story of Nobel prize-winning mathematician John Nash in Ron Howard’s award winning movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. I thought that the movie could also have been called “A Beautiful Love.”
Alicia did not sign up to care for a mentally ill man. But when John decided to stop taking his medication, they walked through it together. The imaginary people and the incredible and world-affecting scenarios John created in his mind did not magically disappear. But as the screenplay reveals, neither did Alicia’s love for her husband.
Her steadfast faith in him and love for him was the shining light that cut through all the chaos he had dealt with on his own for years. Her lovingkindness redeemed him and ultimately led him to a productive, rewarding life. As a result, Alicia’s love saved John.
Read John 13:1-17.
What a scene that the apostle John captures on the last night of Jesus’ life on earth. The Master knew the time had come for him to leave this world. He assembled a meal with his disciples, knowing that Judas still planned to betray him. In that emotion-laden context, Jesus knelt and began a dramatic foot-washing of his followers’ feet. Imagine the messaging going on among the disciples: first, Jesus demonstrated how much He loved them; second, his act foreshadowed his soon approaching self-sacrifice on the cross; third, he was calling his closest friends to emulate his example and serve one another in humilty.
That is the way it is with God. Scripture records that God demonstrates His love for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). God did not wait for us to respond, but took the inititative to love us (1 John 4:9-10). He loves us regardless of the circumstances of our lives and the distractions that we get involved with (Romans 8:38-39). He is committed to our flourishing and will never give up on us (Matthew 28:20). He stays close to us when we start seeing and chasing things that are not real and necessary and won’t last or bring us fulfillment (parable of the lost son). He is even with us when our behavior betrays Him (ouch, how many times is that?).
The love of God is the one shining light that stays steady when everything is trying to knock us off course. Even when we sabotage ourselves, God can be counted on to be real and unchanging.
Live communally. Specifically, how can you put Jesus’ teaching into practice for someone in your web of influence? Remember that it’s His beautiful love that saves and sustains us.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz