Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 25, 1998

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / March 25, 1998


In I Corinthians 13:8, the Bible says: “Love never fails.”I have a calendar that has a daily message and this past Saturday, March 21, the message was: “There is a bond deep within that binds us to one another. It is the glue of authentic love, expressing itself in compassion,fairness, willingness to support and, when possible, coming to the aid of another – personally – without strings attached.” This was taken from abook, “Come Before Winter,” by Charles R. Swindoll.Love is a word often used and, most of the time, misunderstood. The bestdefinition I’ve ever heard for love is: Wanting the best for someone, not expecting anything in return.

Love can be expressed in many ways. Love means taking action.I had the experience of seeing love in action this past Saturday night at F.T.C. (Fountainbleu Treatment Center) in Mandeville. I’ve had the privilegeand honor of speaking there over the past four years every Saturday night.

We share, laugh and enjoy a great time of fellowship. There areapproximately 65 men in attendance and they call our meeting, “Saturday Night Live.”The usual stay at the center is 28 days. Every week, some are there for thefirst time and a few are preparing to leave the next week as they complete the program.

At the close of the meeting I allow the men who are going to be discharged an opportunity to share their feelings and say good-bye. That is the mostspiritual part of the meeting – seeing men who admitted being addicted to drugs, giving thanks to God and the staff at F.T.C. for loving them andgiving them another chance to be productive human beings.

This past Saturday night, about eight men lined up to give their farewell address. The last young man to get up started by sharing that this was hiseighth treatment center. “I’m so grateful for this place,” he started, thenhe choked up. Not wanting to cry, he remained silent for what seemed likefive minutes, but in reality, was maybe only 20 seconds. He wasemotionally paralyzed.

Then one man in the group stood up, started clapping, and within seconds, everyone stood up and clapped. About 12 men went to the center of theroom and, without a word, hugged the young man. (Love in action.) When allthe clapping and hugging was over and the men returned to their seats, the young man, standing alone in the middle of the room, smiled with confidence and said, “I feel good. Now I can go on.”He spoke and gave thanks for the opportunity to have been at the treatment center. He made a commitment to live drug-free and to be a productivehuman being. He told the men, “You’re my family. I’ve never felt so muchlove.”Yes, love never fails. Saturday night I experienced its power. It was proventhat love means taking action.

The men at that treatment center reacted like God wants us all to react, with love, not expecting anything in return.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

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