When my youngest son was 6 or 7 years-old, he found this heart-shaped piece of wood and wrote his first Valentine to me. I think it’s the perfect image for this week’s post.
On Saturday Hubby and I were on our way home from an overnight stay in the hospital when we had to pull over into the Panera Bread parking lot. No, there wasn’t an emergency, our niece was getting married and we weren’t going to make it home in time to ‘attend’ via live stream, so we pulled over and watched on our phones! We cried and laughed just as we would have had we been able to attend the actual in-person wedding in Cleveland. This was the second wedding we attended long-distance thanks to the current pandemic. The first was our son and new daughter-in-law’s. Covid has messed up many a wedding plans, but love prevails.
Another example of love prevailing is the story of my friend Fran and her husband Carl. They were married when they were 17 years-old, and married for over 60 years. Cal passed away a couple of years ago and Fran still cries when she hears ‘their song.’ Fran says, “We proved everyone wrong when they said we were too young to marry. We weathered all the ups and downs.”
During our niece’s wedding, one of the readings was the one from St. Paul to the Corinthians – Love is patient, love is kind . . . It’s a lovely reading and a good reminder for newlyweds. The thing is, St. Paul didn’t write this letter for a wedding, it was written to teach us how to live in community. His words take on a different challenge when they’re intended for our next-door neighbor, a co-worker, or the guy on the bus, instead of the loved one standing across from us in front of the altar.
Yesterday’s Gospel was about the Great Commandment – “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
When I heard the reading, I laughed because even before our niece’s wedding, love had been on my radar all week. The Gospel seemed a fitting end for what I’d read and witnessed – both where we’ve failed and where it was on full display.
Earlier in the week we as a country learned there are still over 500 children who were separated from their parents at our border and have still not been reunited with them. There were also more reports of political signs being stolen or vandalized. I remember thinking, where has love gone?
Yet, it is still here. Earlier this week Pope Francis came out with his historic statement supporting laws to protect civil unions for gays. What a bold, and in my view necessary, statement. I’ve already had discussions with those who don’t understand why he made it and what it means, and don’t agree with him. I believe Pope Francis acted out of genuine love for gay men and women.
Mid-week a political pollster knocked at my door offering materials that explained his candidate’s positions. I politely declined. His response was an act of love. He didn’t confront, badger, or even question why I wasn’t interested in at least reading the insert. He smiled and wished me a blessed day. I wished him one too, and I know we were both sincere in those offerings.
Later this week, my sister sent me these photos. Trudy just had her porch screened in and her friend, Beth, surprised her by decorating it for fall. Notice the décor on the wreath – coffee mugs and a scoop with coffee beans. The two of them met when Beth owned a coffee shop and Trudy helped her out. This attention to detail and nod to their history makes this act of friendship a real act of love.
Hubby’s overnight at the hospital was because he had a heart procedure – he’s fine now – and the outpouring of love, prayers, and support from family and friends kept me busy texting as the day and evening wore on.
Then there were the weddings. There were actually two nieces who married this weekend – another one out in Colorado. And Fran’s story of enduring love. And yesterday, another niece shared her engagement photos. I’m tickled romantic love is abundant, but I’m grateful for the examples of other forms of love – they give me hope.
Fran also shared something Carl told their children: “Don’t tell me you love me at the end of an email or a phone call until I see your love in action.” It sounds a bit harsh, but there’s truth in it, and the words were a lesson for all the relationships their children would eventually have.
In the commentary for yesterday’s Gospel, Br. John R. Barker OFM (a Franciscan friar) writes, ‘Love is not an emotion, it is a committed stance.’ The description makes love a strong action, with awareness and purpose. May your week hold such love!
“Love is not an emotion, it is a committed stance.” I needed this today, Kim-thank you for writing and posting. Love, Ev
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