Now that Valentine’s Day is over we can get down to the real business of love.
Love is not always flowers and chocolates or a fine dinner over a bottle of wine. Rather, these are icing on the cake of love. The real work of love is behind the scenes. Subtle yet powerful. Painful and challenging at times.
Love is saying “I’ll be right there” when you have a million other pressing things on your schedule. Love is the two AM feeding when they are infants, the carpooling to 100 soccer games when they are 10, holding them accountable to a curfew when they are teenagers, and eventually letting go as they kick and scream for their independence. Love is listening and keeping your mouth shut when you think you have earth shattering advice. Love is being strong and letting someone lean on you. Love is hanging on the phone for hours with a friend who just needs to talk. Love is knowing the difference between supporting and enabling. Love is forgiving others and releasing obligation. Love is forgiving oneself for mistakes made and roads not taken. Love is keeping vigil at the bedside of a dying parent. Love is holding on to hope in a desperate situation. Love is praying for good news. Love is comforting the grieving. Love is walking to the end of ones’ land every evening and waiting for the prodigal son to return home. Love is holding out a light in the darkness.
Love is swallowing your pride when your pride is getting in the way of loving.
Love is hard work.
Madeleine and Isabella
These are my two beautiful great nieces at our annual Shaheen family Christmas party. Can you see the anticipation in their eyes as they wait for one of the grown ups to holler “Time to open presents!”
Do you remember those days? You know… when Christmas was all done for you and all you had to do was wake up and be surprised? And you knew that your mom and dad would get you dressed and make sure you had good healthy food to eat. They protected you and nurtured you and if life rolled out the way it was supposed to and you were very lucky you developed this thing called TRUST.
We trust the mailman to come. We trust that Nob Hill will have fresh turkeys the day before Christmas. We trust that a good friend will be there for us.
But sometimes things don’t go the way we plan and our trust wavers. We worry about our kids having jobs after we’ve paid for the exorbitant cost of their college. We worry about how long an aging parent will be able to live alone in their own home. We worry about our health care or whether the plumber is going to overcharge us or if that mole on our back is going to pass inspection with the dermatologist.
As we get older we find more things to not trust and then we become mistrustful.
Try taking a break from worry today.
Rest in the Grace of the World
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.