We want to be known and to know, to be understood and to understand, and, most of all, to be loved and to love. 

We want to feel cradled close to our mother’s breast, to feel our father’s strong-gentle embrace, to hear her sing us into peaceful sleep, and to listen again to one of his made-up stories. 

We want friends who are committed to our dreams, stay with us when we fail, catch our tears, and share our laughter. 

We want a partner to have us gladly and to hold us tenderly, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” 

We want a church where we don’t have to pretend to be perfect or to hide our fears.   

We see the longing for love everywhere:

A young child reaches up to his grandfather, hoping to be held and carried.

A teenage girl yearns for the boy in her fourth-period class to speak to her.

A young adult is nearly desperate to stop eating dinner alone.

A middle-aged man on the road struggles to keep aloneness from becoming loneliness.

A grieving spouse, who recently buried her husband, returns night after night to their house, now chilled by his absence.

Here’s the concluding poem of Raymond Carver’s last collection, A New Path to the Waterfall:

            And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

            And what did you want?

            To call myself beloved,

            To feel myself beloved on the earth.

 God lavishly gives the love we insistently crave.  Already and always, here, now, God freely, fully and joyfully loves us.

We don’t have to make God love us.  All we need to do is let God love us—and love others through us.