Where Love is Found

It’s not in Valentine’s Day bouquets and chocolates that true love can be seen and felt, as nice as those things are.

It’s in the dear voice in the hospital room when a scary diagnosis comes. “It’s OK. We’re in this together.”

Love is in the extended hug at the end of a long day when a tired husband comes in from the cold, having toiled so that wife and child can have what they need.

It’s found in the man who carries the laundry baskets up the stairs for a wife who struggles physically.

It’s in the clean laundry a husband finds in his drawer and the meals prepared, however simple.

Love is there in forgiveness when an apology comes from one or the other.

It is in the warm hand that covers a cold one when life’s tragedies seem overwhelming.

Love is in the eye contact where a smile is never far away.

It is in the ear of the listening spouse who may have heard the same story many times, but doesn’t say so, because he knows something lies underneath the telling of it.

Love lies in deep understanding of where a spouse is coming from, even when they are at their worst.

It is real love that patches up hurt places, that listens, that protects and defends. It’s real love that builds up the other, that looks through kindly eyes, that supports, that is loyal and steadfast.

This is what young adults, especially, need to know in this tragic, broken world of fakery and fraud in counterfeit love and marriage.

When you remove all the contemporary wedding frippery and glitter, all the Instagram filtered glam of the Big Day, you will have either a foretaste of hell or a glimpse of heaven.

It takes two who are committed, by God’s grace and with his help, to walk through life together with the goal of bringing a little heaven down, whether it be in a hospital room, a little cottage or a castle. It can still be done.

“And standing there…Jane knew that she had found the best. Marriage was not a thing of luxury and soft living, of flaming moments of wild emotion. It was a thing of hardness shared, of spirit meeting spirit of dream matching dream.” ~ The Dim Lantern by Temple Bailey

“…Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ~ Corinthians 13:!3

Caring Hand on Senior Hand

Party Time

Emmy left for school today with a bag of Valentines she had prepared for her class and teachers and even the pastor. She also had packed a bag of chocolate kisses and boxes of candy hearts with messages on them for her fellow students. It brought back memories of being in first grade, and having the big party to look forward at the end of the school day with the pink frosted cupcakes and cards to read. Delicious.

Aunt Kris sent some heart socks that we decided would be an appropriate touch for the party. Emmy informed me that she would like to wear her Sunday shoes instead of school shoes, because the socks called for more celebratory footwear. (That was the gist of it anyway!)

valentine'sDay

 

 

Only One Face

I first posted this in April of 2011, and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, it says what I would like to say about love.

I was leaving a concert last Friday night when I was stuck in a big crush of people trying to leave the building. Hundreds of people surrounded me coming down the stairs and pouring out of the doors onto the avenue in downtown Milwaukee.

All of them were strangers I was unlikely to see again. It was a sea of faces, and I did not recognize any. It’s a melancholy feeling being surrounded by people, all of whom have someone with them and you don’t.

As I descended the stairs I kept looking around me for one familiar face, but there wasn’t one. I was pressed forward into the crowd towards the street, carried away by the strangers around me.

Just as I reached the doors, a man grabbed me on the shoulder, and I turned around, startled. He was wearing a tux, and his eyes were smiling. In his left hand was a trumpet case. My Tom.

I grabbed his arm, and we made our way down the busy downtown street to the parking garage. On the way home, I thought about all the millions who have ever lived and all the billions alive today, and how among all those people, there is only one man’s face I look for. That’s the thing about love. Nobody else will do. No other face can light up your heart but one.

In that brief moment, I was reminded again of what a miracle real love is in this world that has so much hatred and so much pain in it. It isn’t something to take for granted, and if you have it in your life, do all you can to nurture and protect it. Thank God for that one and only person who loves you–the one and only face you look for in a crowd.

Valentine’s Day: On Hearts, Cupids and Real Love

valentine

I’ve seen some great posts in the last few days about Valentine’s Day, love, romance, and so forth. The common theme is that lasting love is ultimately not about pink hearts and cupids and romance. It’s about commitment and faithfulness and walking through all that life brings with someone who loves you unconditionally. It’s an important point to make, particularly in an age of media entertainment that portrays love as a feeling or a buzz or attraction to someone’s physical features alone.

But lest true love sound to young people ┬álike it’s nothing but slogging through life, fighting life’s battles without a single moment of romance or a solitary skip of the heart, let me say it doesn’t have to be that way. The truth is that my husband of nearly 18 years still makes my heart glad whenever I see him. On the rare occasions when we’re able to plan an actual date, I still look forward to it more than ever.

Tom recently came home after playing a wedding. When he walked into the room, it took me back 19 years to one of our first dates. Way back in late 1994, we went out for hot chocolate on a snowy night before Christmas. He had just played a wedding that night also and was wearing a dark suit and crisp white shirt. No time at all had elapsed suddenly. Same wonderful man. Same twinkly brown eyes. Same Tom. Same love.

What creates that gladness in my heart is the constant kindness, consideration and selflessness my husband shows. How could any normal woman not respond in kind to that kind of love? When a man sets the tone for marriage by caring for the wife he married, a woman can rest in that and trust him with her well-being, and that spark of gladness never has to die out.

So the truth is, cupids and hearts and real, committed love aren’t mutually exclusive. We may have more lines on our faces from the passing years, but I still fall in love with Tom Schlueter every time I see him. For me, as Snow White summed it up so well, “There’s nobody like him, anywhere at all!”

P.S. Emmy and Mary are making a heart-shaped cake for their dad. Chocolate cake, pink frosting. But it’s a surprise…

 

Without Love, We’re Nothing But Noise

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NASB)