“People say I love you all the time. When they say, ‘take an umbrella, it’s raining,’ or ‘hurry back,’ or even ‘watch out, you’ll break your neck,’ or the simple ‘wear your seatbelt and text me when you get there.’ There are hundreds of ways of wording it-you just have to listen for it, my dear.”
I don’t think anyone can ever have the right answer to the question, “What does love actually look like?” Love can be all of the things in the quote above, love can be hard to hear, love can be heard to see, love can be hard to believe in, and sometimes love can be hard to accept. This past week I’ve been forced to see love in a way that I have never seen before. I’ve been able to witness unconditional love. You know, the kind of love that Jesus’ shows us every, single day. It’s the love we are often blind to because we are too busy moving on to the next best thing or planning our days. It is the obvious kind of love, and we are so oblivious to it.
My grandpa took a tumble down the stairs last Friday, and everything kind of changed. My family has never been the family that says “I love you” all the time. It’s one of those things that goes unsaid because we know the love we have for each other is stronger than most things in life. But this past weekend I’ve seen it in my grandma in a different way. I’ve realized that my grandma is a lover, a fighter, and pretty much a superhero to my grandpa and the rest of my family.
My grandpa is basically an infant right now. He can’t really walk, doesn’t want to talk, doesn’t want to eat or do much of anything besides laugh at the nurses and doctors. On Friday the nurses asked him how he fell down the stairs, his response was, “Well, it wasn’t me. Bev grabbed my legs, tripped me, and off I went sliding down on my butt with the white garbage can. It definitely wasn’t MY fault.” This, is love. Love is being able to blame each other when we feel we have made fools out of ourselves. Love is knowing that someone will have your back when you don’t want to admit that you did make a mistake. Love, is being 100% comfortable with the person who is right by your side. Love is trusting that someone will help you answer all the dumb questions that you are asked throughout life and knowing that if you get the answer wrong, they will laugh with you. Love is knowing that someone is always going to be there strapped in tight, right next to you, on this roller coaster that we call life.
It wasn’t up until now that I realized that the love and positivity that my grandma has in her heart, not only for my grandpa, but for everyone, is unlike anything else. A pastor from Mount Olivet visited us on Friday at the hospital and I was talking to her and told her that my grandma is the “Saint of the Street” and needs to just sit still sometimes. She feeds her neighbors cats that she hates, watches peoples houses when they are out of town, makes sure her sidewalk is always shoveled so people can walk the dog, knows everything about everyone, and gets the mail for everyone when they aren’t home for an extended period of time. She may not even like the person, but she drops everything to help them. She’s a saint. She doesn’t stop loving because she knows it’s what we are called as Christians to do. She knows that love can change someone. She knows because she has witnessed this first hand through my grandpa. She’s not only the “Saint of the Street” but she’s the saint of the family.
Every time I see her I’m pounded with questions, from the normal “Kate, hows it going?!” to the not so normal, “Well, why do you go to Target 3 times a week?” or the “Hey dear, hows you’re roommate doing, does she like her job, is she home, where is she?” This woman needs to know everything about every aspect of my life, of my friends’ lives, of my cousins life, of my moms life, literally everyone. It’s quite annoying, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every time anyone sees her they need to mentally prepare themselves to play 50 questions, and she doesn’t see a problem with it because this is her way of loving, of caring, of living. She lives her life in love, even if that love can be overwhelming and frustrating for the people around her. The questions are constant, but the intention is always good.
So, after spending hours with her at the hospital this week I’ve been forced to look at my opinion of love, and it has changed. I cant even count the number of random questions she has asked me. There hasn’t been one day of my life where I have ever worried about my grandma not caring about what I’m doing or how I’m doing. There hasn’t been a day when I have seen her actually get mad at someone for more than 5 minutes. I haven’t seen her break, I haven’t seen her give up, and I haven’t seen her lose hope even when her husband has lost all of his. She loves him when he can’t find the words to tell her, when he’s frustrated with his current state, and when he is smiling and laughing like the guy we used to know. She also loves me when I’m crabby, frustrated, annoyed, dont respond, and tell her to stop asking me questions. She loves me when I give her attitude, and let me tell you that woman has received more attitude from me than my mom has in my entire life. She most certainly has tested my patience, knows it, and is proud of it. We could all learn something about love from her, and I think we all should.
She tries to love everyone like Jesus does, and isn’t that what this life is about? It’s making everyone around us feel loved even when they are being a pain. It’s asking those annoying questions that everyone gets tired of answering. It’s doing something for someone even when it is the last thing we want to be doing. It’s sitting next to someones hospital bed, feeding them, explaining the doctor lingo, and laughing when they don’t understand a word you are saying. Love is telling someone to hurry back, that you are thankful for them, to watch out, to wear their seatbelt, to eat their meals, to wash their hands, to keep on smiling, and that you miss them. Love is found in laughter, in hope, in smiles, in faith, and in every single conversation.
This weekend my grandma went from being one the most annoying people ever to one of the most inspiring, most loving, and most influential people I have in my life. She’s not only the “Saint of the Street,” but she’s someone I want to be like (my family will seriously never stop giving me crap for that statement.) I probably won’t ask as many questions or worry about what everyone is doing, but I will do my best to love everyone. My grandma tries to love like Jesus does, and not a day goes by where my grandpa doesn’t thank her for her love and hope.
We are called to live our lives in love. Isn’t that the golden rule? Treat others how you want to be treated? Love is seen in many different ways, don’t be so blind that you are closed off to it. Without love we are nothing, and without family we wouldn’t be here.
So what is love? It’s answering the never easy, never ending, and always rewarding call of being a Christian. It’s knowing that someone will be there during every aspect of life, calming the storms, causing the laughter, and never, ever letting you go.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” John 4:16-19