Judy Brandon: CNJ columnist
On Valentine’s Day, we all get excited to assure those we love that we are thinking about them. Love is not something new.
Love was conceived in the heart of God. Jesus demonstrated that love on the cross and the apostle Paul tells us that love is the greatest of attributes.
Over 50 years ago while on a family picnic with relatives to Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas, I read a message of love in an unlikely place. Our family was in a ‘54 Ford sedan and my uncles and aunts followed with three carloads of excited kids as we drove up a graveled road to a picnic area. After parking in a grassy clearance, we unloaded our cookout supplies on quilts spread out in that beautiful place.
I was excited to be with my cousins because they were fun. They were country kids and I admired their expertise. They knew about the woods and knew how to have fun in the woods. I knew that if there were any wonders of nature on Petit Jean Mountain, my cousins would find them!
Our mothers were too concerned about us getting lost in the woods to let 12 children under the age of 15 go exploring on their own. So my daddy and my four uncles accompanied us to explore some of the territory. Familiar with the place, one uncle suggested that we follow a trail down to a creek.
The entire herd meandered through the woods to the creek. It was beautiful. The water was so transparent we could see the colored stones that lined the creek bed. We kids were even sure that some of those yellow rocks under the water were pure gold! We took off our shoes, rolled up our pants, stepped into the cool creek and began to look for precious stones. We also kept our eyes open for frogs, baby fish or snails — anything that we could take back in the mason jars that we had brought with us.
After a while, my cousin and I wandered up the creek a little distance. I studied all the rocks and the foliage at the edges of the creek. Then I looked up. That is when I saw the words about love etched on of the rocks that stood high on the creek bank.
No doubt someone had long ago etched these words in the rock: “God’s love never fails.”
It is fine to mark love by celebrating Valentine’s Day. Yet, what if we all lived love every day of the year. There might be less disagreement and fewer harsh words. There might be more thoughtfulness, kindness and goodwill.
When each of us is gone, what memory will we leave?
When someone thinks of you will they think of love or of judgmental attitudes and coldness of spirit? Will they think of selfishness or kindness? Will they think of trouble? Will they say, “Her spirit was warm and she was kind and compassionate?”
After all, Christ showed compassion for us on the cross. That was the ultimate act of love. I suppose somewhere hidden on a creek bank in Arkansas those words may still be there and they are still true today. Christ, the Rock of Ages, will endure for all eternity and his message is love.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: