I Love . . .

We’re less than a week away from Valentine’s Day. The word love will be thrown around a lot in the days to come. Last night I attended a ladies’ group at our church, and we talked about love.

I know people who have lots of trouble saying that little four-letter word. I’m not one of them. I live in a world of superlatives. Amazing. Wonderful. Incredible. Fantastic. If you’re around me you hear those and their ilk all the time. I also love things. I love foods. I love shops. Mostly, I love people.

Here’s the thing. Loving people is a completely different thing. I love foods because of what I get from them. Loving people is about wanting what’s best for them. It doesn’t have anything to do with how they behave. It’s about allowing God’s love to flow through me and into them. It’s about listening. It’s about caring enough to be unpopular.

Love isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always easy. It is, however, worth it. I have friends who are going through a very difficult time. I’ll call them Bob and Susie. They’ve been married for a long time. Because of a very rare condition Bob, who has always been a healthy, active man, is now in a wheelchair. He spent several months in the hospital. They are hopeful that one day he’ll regain enough strength and movement to be able to take a step or two on his own so that he’ll be able to get in and out of the wheelchair, the van, and such on his own. Bob had always taken good care of Susie. Now Susie is taking care of Bob in ways she never anticipated.

I know of another couple. I don’t know them personally, but they’re friends of friends. I’ll call them Stan and Sally. They aren’t married, but they do live together. She has breast cancer. She’ll be going through a radical mastectomy soon. She told him that she would understand if he wanted to leave. This isn’t what he signed up for. They’ve made no vows. Still, he’s standing by her and ready to help her through her recovery.

These aren’t the situations they’ll talk about in the days ahead, but they are definitely stories of love. Hearts, flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and such are all great. But, love is much, much more than that.

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