Mary shuffled with a limp while carrying the dirty dishes from the dining table to the kitchen. She tried to hide the fact that something was wrong from Jim, her husband of 42 years, and even though his back was to her as she walked, he knew instantly something was amiss.
“Is your hip hurting again honey,” asked Jim? He had turned to see her final two steps as she reached the kitchen sink; she was clearly favoring her left side. “Hon, how bad is it?”
“It’s okay Jim, just a little stiff from the arthritis. I’ll be fine; go read your paper and rest,” Mary replied with just a little white lie. Her hip and knee were on fire it seemed.
Jim was 64 and Mary 62. She retired the previous year after hip surgery, but they needed Jim to keep working because of the insurance provided by his company. After downsizing twice in the last five years, Jim was now doing the work of two people, and his health wasn’t perfect either, so he was usually very tired at the end of the day. Mary had insisted that if she was to retire and Jim was to work, she could cook and clean each weeknight. She knew Jim needed more rest than he got and she feared one night driving home he would fall asleep and that would be it.
Jim stood, grabbed his plate and the remainder of the dirty dishes on the table and walked into the kitchen.
“You put the leftovers in Tupperware and I’ll wash,” said Jim, “together we will be done in a jiff.” He softly kissed Mary’s cheek and began washing.
Love doesn’t have to be written by a plane over a city sky to be real, or embodied by a two carat diamond to show commitment. The power of love is shown when one chooses to suffer so another won’t, when your inconvenience is nothing compared to theirs. Love is choosing them first, always, forever.
There are no size protocols on the demonstration of love either; something small can be more powerful than a grand gesture.
But love is so much more. Paul says in Ephesians, love is patient and kind; love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and love never fails.
But we are people and we often fail, right? We are not always kind, or patient, so how can love be those things if we cannot? Because with love also comes forgiveness. When in true love, we try always to be kind, patient, and trusting to the one we love. And when we eventually fail, our loved one forgives as fast and completely as we failed.
There are things that love is not. Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. There are no score cards in marriage; no one gets points for winning an argument, but both win when the issue (whatever it may be) is resolved fairly, honestly and quickly.
When love is pure and complete it comes easy. Love is not work, it is not burdensome. Falling in love is an apt phrase, because like gravity, love is a universal law that applies to every living thing. Two bodies in space attract each other; two bodies in love cannot stay away from one another. All of creation can love and all deserve to find their own way to love.
So this week, bring some flowers home, clean a room, go to a movie; do something for the one you love just because. And if you haven’t found, or are not with your loved one now, you will be someday. Love is worth waiting for.
1 Corinthians 13:13.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”