Playing the Love Card


“An unforgettable quote from Les Misérables is, “Life’s great happiness is to be convinced we are loved.” The word “love” comes up incessantly in life and I sometimes wonder what it is exactly that we want when we express the longing to be loved. It seems to me that being “convinced we are loved” would mean that we experience ourselves as being accepted, worthy, wanted, desirable, beautiful, powerful, and valuable. Even if love is the essence of our identity, which I believe it is, our experience of love happens primarily in connection and relationship with others. The significance of Jesus for others was that he made God’s love believable and experience-able. Jesus did not send people off to a mountaintop to meditate on God’s love, or send them to church to study God’s love, or distribute theological pamphlets, explaining God’s love. Jesus gave expression to love… Jesus was love… his life was being love.

Because God is love, and because we were born out of the image, likeness, and being of God, our core identity is love. What this means is that each of us is carrying the most important card in life – the Love Card… the card that everyone else needs and is waiting for. There is no one on earth who has more power than you because you carry the Love Card, and playing it requires no special skill or knowledge.

I’d like to re-write Victor Hugo’s Les Mis quote this way, “Life’s great purpose is to convince others they are loved.” Just like the people of Jesus’ day, we don’t really “get” love unless we experience it. Just like they were, we also are love at the very center of our being, but we come to realize and experience this in relationship and connection with others. It’s a paradox that when we become expressions of love to others in the world that we invite an experience of love for ourselves, and come to know ourselves as love and loved.

The experience of love transforms people’s lives. Have you ever played a card game, and were waiting for that one card to find it’s way into your hand so you could win? It’s the same way in people’s lives, they need that Love Card. For so many people, the conditions of their inner world and lives are ripe for experiencing deep transformation and finding healing, freedom, and wholeness, but they lack the Love Card. They need that Love Card to find its way into their life. And guess what? It’s yours to give.

Consider this: whoever and wherever you might be, you are the Jesus that people need… the Jesus people have been waiting for… the expression of love they have longed to know and experience. You are the one holding the Love Card.

There is nothing more you need to do, become, learn, know, improve, or change to live a life of extraordinary meaning, purpose and significance. It’s no more complicated than this – expressing love, being love, playing the Love Card in whatever ways line up with the unique person that you are. It doesn’t have to look one way. Let it look your way, whatever that way is. Just accept that everyone you cross paths with in life is needing and waiting on the Love Card, and be aware that you are carrying it, and you are free to give it.”

– Jim Palmer, Notes From (over) The Edge

Latest Comments

  1. Ryan Swain says:

    Thank you Jim. Poignant.

  2. Jacob Fleming says:

    “The significance of Jesus for others was that he made God’s love believable and experience-able.”

    This is a great challenge for many churches, where teaching right beliefs is seen as so much more important than cultivating experiences in which God’s love can be felt. Following Jesus needs to be experiential, and I think that for many people, until they experience God’s love, there’s nothing anyone can say to help them believe in that love.
    Thanks for sharing this, Jim.

  3. Darlene Rossi says:

    So true and so simple. It’s amazing how we can complicate things… Thanks Jim!

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