I’ve been thinking about love a lot in the past month. Not because it’s the month of Valentines and all things heart-related, but because I’ve been aware of it’s presence in so many exchanges. Many of them are everyday experiences, so why notice them now? Perhaps because I was feeling so in need of it: a gracious gift from a loving Father speaking through the presence of others, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

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I believe we all need reminders like this, reminders that we are not alone, that we are loved, and that ultimately Love does Win. This is my list of what love is, what’s on yours?

LOVE IS…

A birthday party on the road – because all birthdays are cause for celebration!

The voice of a friend asking, “How is your heart?”

The simple presence of a friend to sit with your husband during your surgery so he doesn’t have to wait alone.

Warm soup and hearty pasta, meals prepared with love for your family by dear friends.

Your 2 year old bundle-of-energy-grandson, stopping to snuggle in your lap, reaching up and moving your hand to cradle even his face.

Your aunt and uncle opening their home and extending hospitality, kindness, assistance, childcare, whatever was necessary for your foster son and his family that they’d never even met; simply because they were “family.”

Your son texting a birthday blessing to you from his college dorm room, because he can’t be present in person.

Date nights with your husband, sweet conversation while savoring good food and wine.

A yellow inner tube, reminding you to just let go.

A card in the mail from friends who have heard and understood your pain, with words from both of them written from their heart.

Hot tea sent as a gift, sipped from a mug handcrafted by your artist friend, warming your hands and heart.

A homemade valentine created just for you by your 15 year old daughter.

Walking into the coffee shop after receiving a call from your doctor that there is something on your MRI and having the clerk tell you your order has already been paid for by the last customer – a whisper from Jesus saying, “I see you.”

The calming, kind touch of the nurse standing by your side and gently rubbing your back as you feel the anxiety of being rolled into the MRI once again.

Ringing the doorbell at your son’s new home and watching through the window as your grandkids race to the door and jump up and down with excitement to see you.

Holding your newest granddaughter in your arms for the very first time on your birthday, what a gift!

Your friend saying she is proud of you for making choices to care for yourself.

Your husband taking the grandkids out to the garage to “help” put away moving boxes; watching him smile each time they manage to drag one over with a “Here go, Grandpa!”

More than just the words “I love you” underlined on a card – love is presence and movement and action.

Your friends knowing you well enough to hear in a short voice mail that you’re not okay, and calling to check in.

The community of friends who faithfully pray for you.

Laughing until it hurts at a ridiculously funny movie with your husband and kids – your favorite people to “let down” with.

Returning the phone call of the person you really don’t want to talk to, because you know how it feels to be alone.

Your son calling on Valentine’s Day to tell you that even though he has a girlfriend, and Valentine’s Day is more about that, he still remembers that you were his first Valentine.

Going out with your husband both dressed in your leather motorcycle jackets and badass boots – because you are celebrating the fact that you are finally riding together.

Love is what you were made for, and love is who you are. – Richard Rohr.


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Janet Stark is a woman learning to embrace her depth and sensitivity.  Inspired by Mary pondering things in her heart, Janet writes about her experiences here. She is grateful for the deep love she shares with her husband of 25 years, as well as her 4 children and 2 grandchildren. She is a life-long lover of words and looks forward to reading and sharing at Red Tent Living.
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