Fell asleep last night thinking about love, not because today is Valentine’s Day but due to the chapter I’d just finished reading on Dr. Paul Brand. The chapter’s one of thirteen “unlikely mentors” in Philip Yancey’s book, Soul Survivor. (All quotes are from this book.)
It would be more accurate to say I sobbed myself to sleep and this time it wasn’t for missing Jud. I felt I’d missed the boat, so to speak, and knew nothing of true love, the joyful, sacrificial love of Drs. Paul and Marjorie Brand and his parents, with their love for the poor, the lepers, the untouchables in India and in this country.
Paul grew up in India as the son of missionaries. They believed” love can only be applied person to person.” They taught “health, sanitation, farming and the Christian gospel.” His mother, known as Granny Brand, ” rid huge areas of a guinea worm infestation.”
The son took a different route to sharing God’s love. Paul went to medical school in England and became an orthopedic surgeon, his wife, an ophthalmologist. Both invested their lives in India and this country touching and tending lepers, loving the nobodies God loves.
Paul’s parents instilled in him a love of nature.The last letter Paul received from his father, who died of blackwater fever, said:
“God means us to delight in his world. It isn’t necessary to know botany or zoology or biology in order to enjoy the manifold life of nature. Just observe. And remember. And compare. And be always looking to God with thankfulness and worship for having placed you in such a delightful corner of the universe as the planet Earth.”
And that’s why I wept. Surrounded by poverty, human misery, disease, seemingly insurmountable challenges, two generations of Brands saw themselves, “placed in such a delightful corner of the universe.” They felt surrounded by beautiful people, a beautiful world and responded with overwhelming gratitude and humility before the God who created the heavens and the earth and loved all he’d made, including lepers, maybe especially those the world called, “Untouchable.”
On this day of hearts and flowers, chocolates and jewelry, tables for two, cards and letters, I’m wondering what difference we could make if I and all who call ourselves Christians loved some one, touched oneuntouchable with that Love that never stops touching us when we’re most untouchable, or reaching out to help us get back in the boat we feel we’ve missed.
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