When I was in high school and I would go to community dances, I was pretty sure love was that fluttery feeling you got inside when the person you admired wanted to dance with you. And, even though my concept of love grew more complex as I got older, I still thought there had to be fluffy and excited feelings involved. Now that I am a parent, I’ve come to realize that sometimes love looks like fluffy excitement. Sometimes it looks like sheer determination. And other times it looks like overcoming dread and difficulty because of something so much deeper and bigger than yourself.
Sometimes love looks like stitching on your child’s cub scout patches. In fact, I believe this is one true act of love and devotion that does not get enough credit. Love is sewing those patches on even though you keep stabbing your clumsy fingers with a sharp needle, and you have to keep using a seam ripper because none of the patches ended up straight.
Sometimes love looks like styling your child’s hair when you barely know how to style your own. When you are in the dressing room before your child’s dance recital and you find yourself staring at bobby pins and a fake bun with fear and trembling, love propels you to conquer the fear and do your best.
Sometimes love looks like taking care of others even when you can barely take care of yourself. When you are so sick with a virus that you can’t find the energy to feed yourself, you stand at the microwave and make popcorn so your children can eat. Sometimes love looks like nursing your baby even when you are too sick to eat much of anything. Somehow love enables us to nourish others even when we feel as though we have nothing left to give.
Love means changing dirty diapers, standing on your feet longer than you think you can take, turning into a first aid station after a spill, giving up the last bite of something, losing sleep out of concern.
Love is messy, confusing, difficult, and the most amazing thing we can do as human beings.
Sometimes love looks like saying “no” to something great so that you can invest where you are. It sometimes means cooking when you don’t feel like it, ordering out when you need a little less stress in the house, working on yourself so that you are the best example you can be for the little lives that have been entrusted to you.
It looks like getting real about your own stuff. Owning up when you need to, and showing grace as often as you can.
Sometimes love looks like being present even when you don’t have the words to say.
And it changes everything.
Take an opportunity to say “thank you” today to someone who showed you what real love looks like.