Love in the Present Tense

631 words | 2.5 minutes

Mar 23, 2024

“Remember when …?” No.

There are some among us who, through no fault of their own, are day by day losing their grasp on one of the most precious gifts that God has given us—memory. The longer they live, the less they remember. Due to disease, injury, old age, it’s almost as if, in their mind, their life story is running backward—their window of “reality” is getting smaller. All the details of their life and the fruits of their past still exist. Faith endures. It’s ALL still “there.” But as the fog of life rolls in, their window view of their own past journey is misted over. The mental database of all of their acquaintances, accomplishments, and experiences is locked … and they’ve forgotten the password. Inaccessible as a corrupted backup drive or an 8-track tape with no player. It’s THEIR life, and to make matters worse, everyone else has access to the details … except THEM.

Even when you try to help them recall together the joy and laughter of past adventures, you find yourself joying and laughing alone. They cannot bring them to mind. The remembering becomes as one-sided as one hand clapping.

Now, in truth, all their past deeds of courage, faithfulness and goodness have not evaporated to nothing just because THEY don’t remember them. Their lifetime of friendships, sense of humor, acts of compassion, bravery, and kindness, fruits of their labors—intelligence, wisdom, wit, and integrity … ALL of it endures like rock-solid timeless treasures—evidence of their journey. Of their BEing. Of their place in the timeline. These things don’t evaporate with a failing memory any more than precious artifacts held in a museum disappear when the doors are locked at closing time. We who still possess the power of memory cannot, and should not, forget their value.

We MUST remember FOR them—even if they cannot. Of course, our remembering does little to restore THEIR memory—but it does everything for their HONOR. Theirs and ours. And by obeying God’s Word, “Honor your father and mother …” we honor God.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech [alone—giving lip service to compassion] but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18 NIV)

Showing HONOR requires more than just remembering—more than just turning them into their own living tombstone. While they’re alive and breathing, honor is also shown through active interest, conversation (albeit difficult, perhaps), and respect … LOVE in LIFE. LOVE in living color. LOVE IN the PRESENT TENSE.

“Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10 ESV)

When the past is lost in fog—
and the future is uncertain and scary,
life in the present becomes terse and tentative—TENSE.
The best thing we can do for them is to

Pour LOVE into the NOW.
Fill THIS moment with affection, attention, and understanding.
Spoken love, acts of love. Selfless love.
Sometimes LOVE is a word.
Sometimes LOVE keeps its mouth shut.

LOVE in the PRESENT TENSE is not dependent on what happened five years, five days, or five minutes ago—
It’s not withheld because of something they said or did … or didn’t—
Not given with any thought of payback or reward—
Not offered with worry that they won’t remember … because they probably won’t.
It’s just making the most of THIS moment.
Enlarging THIS moment …
for the simple sake of THIS moment.
Because THIS moment is all you have.
NOW. This is where true LOVE is—
for anyone and everyone.
No matter who you are.
LOVE in the PRESENT … IS the gift.

You cannot LOVE in the past—it’s gone.
You cannot LOVE in the future—that opportunity is not yours yet.
It may never be.
Just seize the moment.