By Purposeful Faith Contributor, Katy McCown
I remember when Valentine’s Day was a big deal. You either loved the question, What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? because you had ultra-romantic plans. Or you dreaded the question because you had no plans.
Now, Valentine’s Day is really more of an annoyance than anything else. Since neither Luke nor I possess gift giving as a love language we like to say every day is Valentine’s Day, thereby relieving each other of any and all romance-based sweets or surprises. It works for us.
Even so, the day still remains and lots of people spend lots of money to show their love.
Last year I started wondering, though.
Why is the heart this day’s cover girl?
Buy a girl a pack of M&Ms on V-Day and you’re likely to get a roll of the eyes, or worse, in return. But give a girl chocolate in a heart-shaped box and Voila! You made a smile. Kids cut out hearts or make them with macaroni noodles. Stuffed bears hold them. Little girls wear them.
Our baby girl, Leah, wears these pajamas with little hearts all about.
The boys love them because it reminds them of a cow. They’re super cute, but I’m looking at these hearts and thinking, Is that right? Does a heart really paint the picture of love?
This year, I think if I want to show my love I’ll fashion a picture of my life … laid down.
Because that’s what Jesus did. And that’s what He said.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)
Or maybe I’ll draw a bunch of little brains.
Brains deciding to smile instead of scream.
Or teach instead of tear down.
Or offer mercy instead of judgement.
Or simply be quiet instead of spilling all of my opinions.
No way that image looks as cute as the cow-print hearts, but I think that’s more realistic.
Because isn’t real love a little gritty sometimes?
Isn’t it practical more often than poetic?
But, somehow the real-life love is more romantic than the, “Katy, will you accept this rose?” kind.
Like that night …..
In a rental home in Jacksonville, Florida, Luke and I shared a small room with two big dogs, a newborn baby girl and a knee machine. Two months earlier Luke tore a ligament in his knee. Surgery fixed him. Rehab strengthened him. But rehab came with a machine – in the bed, all night – bending and straightening Luke’s knee. We figured we got the 1920’s version of said machine, since it squeaked and creaked with every extension.
Add the newborn to the mix and an occasional re-positioning of the giant dogs in the corner, and we weren’t sleeping much. Cherry on top: the boys got a stomach bug, and we found out about it in the middle of the night.
While Luke helped Jonah into the shower I scrubbed the carpet. The rest is a blur. Except for one moment.
The next day, after dogs and knee machines and newborns and throw-up, Luke came home from work. I expected him to fall into the nearest chair and snore, but he didn’t.
Instead, he found me. With a smile he bent over to kiss my forehead and said,
“There’s no one else in the world I’d rather clean up puke with at 3 a.m. than you. I love doing life with you.”
You’ll likely never find those words etched on a Hallmark card, but they are etched on my heart forever. Not because they came in a pretty package. Not because I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. But because real love met real life, and it bloomed.
That memory – that awful memory – makes me smile today. And, you know, I think Jesus might say the same.
“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)
Have you ever seen real love in real life? Will you share it with me here? Leave a Comment! Let’s celebrate when real love meets real life and blooms!
Sign up for Purposeful Faith blog posts via email – click here.
Post by Purposeful Faith Contributor, Katy McCown