It is no secret. If you have read previous posts you will know I am not really a fan of Valentine’s Day. It is overwrought, over sold, and overwhelming if you are not one who wears your heart on your sleeve – like me. I understand the sentiment, but have never bought into the idea that there is this one day of the year when we “have to” show love to one another. With that being said, let me do my very best to wade into the waters here and explain what I believe we should be focusing on – love that is not seen.
I do the laundry; wash and fold and put it away because this is one of my wife’s least favorite chores. She cleans the bathrooms because I spent a summer on a maintenance crew cleaning dorm rooms over the summer after students had left and have forever been scarred by what I had to clean up – This is love.
I bought my wife some Greek yogurt the other day and she picked up a bottle of Diet Coke for me on her way home. My son goes out when he doesn’t want to and shovels and salts the walkways while I am away so I don’t have to walk through ankle-deep snow in dress shoes when I get home from work. My daughter put a post-it note on the coffee mug I use for work that said “Have a great day!” I leave for work quite early and find the note when no one else is around and smile and melt – This is love.
I can make a pretty mean zucchini relish, rhubarb jelly, and craft a decent pasty (each is nearly a day-long project). I usually make a few extras to give those I care about. My boss at work thanks me for doing the smallest things and tells me I’m doing a good job even when I think I’m struggling. I have a sister who has spent hours reading my ramblings, making suggestions and editing; helping me to write clearly and consistently – This is love.
Real love is found in the little things we do for each other. It is found when we hold the door open for someone walking behind us, letting them enter first; when we lend a hand even though we have our own task to complete; when we let the car in the oncoming lane have the right of way. Love is a whisper in a crowded room saying “you’ll do fine” as your hand grips another tightly before a big speech. Love is washing the car, getting the groceries, doing (and folding) the laundry, washing the dishes, getting the oil changed on the cars, planning the vacation weekend, mowing the lawn, writing the note, doing the chores, walking the dogs, making the bed – add whatever mundane task you would like to add – This is love.
Love is at its truest when it is unspoken. When it is not looking for approval or recognition. Love shines brightest when it is not seeking a reward but offering one. Love doesn’t scream “look and me and what I did for you”, rather it whispers “I am here, I’m not going anywhere, we’re in this together”. Love is present in the pain, patient in the process, and persistent in the promise. Love is an active, every day event, not something you can wrap up in a red candy heart on February 14th and call it done.