The first woman was responding to an article online about adopting children who are still healing from trauma. She was worn out from trying to keep a little one safe, trying to patiently enforce boundaries.
She worried that she didn’t feel the warmth and lightness of love toward this child. Only duty. Only the humdrum motions of mothering.
Then – and this is the important part – in the next comment, a woman responded and said love is in the humdrum. Love is in the acts of service. Love is in the welcoming, the protecting and in the freely giving of yourself.
It seems we’ve fallen for the feeling of love. We are most comfortable with the butterflies and rainbows, the hearts with our initials scratched inside.
Without realizing it, we’ve put our confidence in an emotion that ebbs and flows. We’ve boarded a boat, and each time a wave comes, we doubt ourselves and the seriousness of our love.
But when see love as an action, as an expression of God, it serves as an anchor that steadies us. Even when the waves and the arguments and the hurt feelings come, love is still present in the scrubbing of the toilet, the punching of the time clock and in the tender holding of the hand.
Love is there when the rainbow fades and the paint gets scratched, when the hurting child acts out and you listen and hold tight.
Love is there.
Those people who come to weddings and adoption ceremonies and birthing rooms and tell you that all you need is love? They are right.
You need the action of love. The patience. The kindness. The humility. The showing up day after day after day.
That kind of priceless love is what you need for a strong friendship, or marriage or family. That kind of love will hold when you are bone-tired and broken. It will hold when you are afraid and so far away from your comfort zone that you worry you’ll never find your way back.
It will hold. And it is all you – and any of us – need.