“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
Valentine’s Day- a day of full of red hearts and chubby cupids, chocolate and flowers, cards and sappy sentiments. A day set aside to celebrate love.
When my husband and I were dating, I planned a pull-out-all-the-stops Valentine’s Day celebration, only to have him called in to work at the last minute. Left alone with my candles and chocolate, a dinner to pack in the fridge, I cried and mourned the by-myself night ahead of me.
That fairy-tale night. That date circled with a heart on the calendar that shouted to me that I must do something to show this guy I was smitten.
We plan the big wedding, we buy the breath-taking dress, we walk the aisle, and we throw the party.
Life happens. Kids come. Sometimes some are born with extreme needs. Businesses close. Finances become shaky. Tempers flare and frustrations mount.
The daily little foxes that spoil the vines and threaten to crack that very foundation poured years ago before a minister on a rainy Saturday.
And somewhere down the line, love can become no longer patient and sometimes a bit unkind.
As years pass, familiarity and assurance of unconditional love can make kindness dwindle; its reserves poured on strangers and acquaintances and used up.
Yet in the midst of the daily grind, amongst the frustrated and frantic, I find true love.
Not expected flowers and candy on a day. Not mushy-gushy, but love in action.
Love is the sound of my husband give my special-needs son a shower before school and hearing him say, “I love you…”
Because love is patient.
Love is his taking him to school so I don’t have to get out on a cold morning.
Because love is kind.
Love is working long hours to grow a business to provide for our family. Love is me not envying those whose husbands work steady hours, who go on regular date nights and take yearly vacations, but instead being thankful for what he does and why he does it.
Love is finding joy in the everyday moments.
Love is eating chips and guacamole in the kitchen instead of dinner out in a quiet restaurant.
It does not envy.
Love is buying new tires and putting gas in my van. Love is calling every night on the way home from work to ask if I need anything from the store without ever being asked or expecting thanks.
It does not boast.
Love is, in many years of marriage, not ever demanding that dinner be on the table, never asking what I did all day or proclaim that the house is a mess. Instead, love tells me that he could never do what I do.
It does not dishonor others.
Love is a daddy starting his baby girl’s car on a cold morning before she goes to work.
It is not self-seeking.
Love is not getting upset when I banged up our cars, got speeding tickets, ran over a mailbox, and even when I hit him backing out of our driveway.
It is not easily-angered.
Love is not pointing out my many short-comings and failures, but encouraging me to do what God has called me to.
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love is staying together though circumstances that should have ripped us apart.
Love believes God for greater things than what we can see, but only He can do.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Some days love must be sought on purpose. Because tempers flare and some days, people irritate.
But most days, I simply listen.
And I hear love in the sound of daddy-wrestling and brother-chasing, daughter-laughing and angel-seer giggling.
I hear “I love you’s” and read texts signed with hearts and it makes my own full.
I feel hugs and pucker kisses, small hands in mine and heads on my chest and I drink in all that they are.
I see all around me the evidence of those I love and remember that love is patient when I wish they would put their things away.
I thank God that by His grace that I have those who create messes and fill my days. I thank Him that they love me and He loves me.
I thank Him for love that always protects, hopes, and perseveres.
True love demonstrated and poured out on the cross – a red unlike any valentine and a love none can ever replicate.
Today I celebrate love, not because I have to, but because I get to. Because of Him and what He gave me. For what He gives me every day.
Love never fails.