On many occasions, our home was filled with people. Whatever the celebration, every seat was taken and guests leaned against walls or counters.

We had that house built... so we knew what materials went into its completion and elastic wasn’t one of them. However, it sometimes felt like there must be at least some elasticity to hold so many guests.

Once everyone had gone their separate ways, it also seemed the walls had absorbed the laughter because we could still hear it ringing in our minds and hearts.

These are blessings of hospitality. But, also of love.

If we keep love in a tight little box, we leave no room for expansion and expression.

I’ve learned along life’s journey that there are many facets of God’s love that expand beyond our comprehension. Though we try to understand Him fully, the mysteries that surround him are actually quite magnetic.

Love without surprises — always predictable — can become routine. But, when a husband surprises his wife with little mementos, flowers, a requested project completed... any little thing... we are even more drawn to him.

He has infused life with wonderment.

With our 37th anniversary just past, I’m remembering one of our first Christmases together. As we wrapped gifts for our sons, we acknowledged that our tight budget wouldn’t expand for us to buy gifts for each other, and that was O.K.

But, one day... and I can’t recall if it was before or after Christmas... Ken came in with an unexpected gift for me.

“I know we said no gifts, but I couldn’t resist this,” he said.

When I peered inside the box, there were pieces of a wooden reindeer. In a few moments, he put it together like a puzzle, delightfully assembled and endearingly presented. His look of love in the giving is one I’ve never forgotten.

Does this mean that predictability isn’t good? No. It’s wonderful that I can count on Ken’s steadfast love, his sense of humor, his helping hands, his affectionate nature and so many other things that often are taken for granted.

But, on those occasions when he adds that little something extra... well, what can I say.

When rough waters come and life presents obstacles, dependable love is sustaining. In Song of Solomon 8:7, (NKJV) it says, “Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it.”

And, so, it is with God’s dependable, sustaining love. And when he delights to surprise us, we stand in awed silence before him.

Keep the walls of your heart expandable in human relationships and with our awe-inspiring God. Selah

Jan Merop, a prolific and award-winning writer, has had her column “Pause...and Consider” published weekly for almost 30 years. Her signature, Selah, indicating a time of silence, reflects her title. She and her husband, Ken, moved to Avery County two years ago and actively volunteer in the area. They have three sons and five grandchildren. Visit her blog Journeying with Jan at pauseandconsider.net.

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