“Reduce me to love.”
These words, penned by the one and only Hannah Brencher, showed up in my Instagram feed yesterday morning. Like many of Hannah’s words, they enraptured me.
“Reduce me to love,” she said. And then she proceeded to tell of how she gets in her own way. How often she abandons Love in favor of Expectations and Productivity.
“So please, just reduce me to love,” she prayed. “Nothing more. Nothing greater. I know it won’t be easy. I know it should be simple, but it’s not.”
We fill our lives with so many meaningless (but often well-meaning) things. We try to accomplish so much in hopes of making a name for ourselves. We sing to the tune of Busy, Busy, Dreadfully Busy and leave Love by the wayside.
Love is just one more thing to worry about, and we haven’t got the time. There is no room even in the margins of our busy schedules to add this thing called Love.
But the reason I keep coming back to Hannah’s statement is because she uses such an unconventional choice of words. “Reduce,” she says. “Reduce me to love.”
Not, “Enable me to love.” Not, “Grow me in love,” or “Help me make room for love,” or “Fill me with a love that would overflow into the lives of those around me.”
No, she uses the word reduce. As if Love is a thing of which we are all capable if only we slow down enough to let it do its work. As if it lingers there in our hearts, just waiting for the opportunity to stretch out its hands and work its simple magic.
Because Love really is a very simple thing. Sure, we act as though it is something grand and lofty and hard to come by, but Love is a very simple thing at the core.
Love is a plate of food, wrapped and waiting in the refrigerator for the daughter who won’t get off work until ten.
Love is the handful of wildflowers you stop to pick on the way to a friend’s house because they are her favorite color.
Love is a name remembered. A ponytail tugged. A diaper changed. A late night trip into town for waffles.
Love is one single phone call/email/text message away.
Love is a series of simple things. The kinds of things that don’t require much. In fact, they require very little. Love requires us, not to be more, but to be less. To reduce ourselves from all of our lofty aspirations and checklists for productivity, challenging us to be—just be—that little thing that lingers when all distractions are stripped away.
Challenging us to be Love.
So please, reduce me to love
Nothing more. Nothing greater. Nothing important or pretentious.