I believe in true love.

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Photo (cc) Heather Stearns, 2009

It may be a silly, naive thing for a modern woman to believe in in this age of divorce, where the bad relationship is center stage and where more and more young singles are swearing off the left-hand ring. It seems a strange thing to believe in, coming from a broken home as I do, and therefore you may call me a hopeless romantic and an incurable idealist, but I believe in true love.

I also believe it is not as rare as you think.

See, love IS gentle, kind, blind to all faults, and very very precious. But it is also humble, and rarely arrives to enormous fanfare. It may sweep you off your feet, but that’s not generally Love’s modus operandi. Love likes to be subtle, right up until the moment it surprises you. That’s why I think most people miss it, or mistake it for something else.

With all the movies, romance novels, and pop culture that sensationalize the love triangle (culminating in some grand profession of inner feelings) or the fairy tale’s grand “happy ever after,” it’s no wonder we miss Love when it visits. We simply don’t realize that Love IS the simple things: how she fixes his coffee for him every morning before he asks, how he holds her hand for no reason, how neither has to say a word because simply standing in line — together — at the store is an expression of Love. Love is the mutual choice to stick together, to overlook faults and stupid mistakes, to work together to make a strong relationship when all the world is trying to tear it asunder, and to nurture each other. And that’s where True Love comes from. It is not something that pops out of thin air on one designated day of the year, nor is it some mysterious thing we have to Find immediately in a relationship or the relationship is doomed. It grows from plain-Jane, standard-issue Love that is 24/7, 365, day in and day out. True Love is the little plant that grows around two people after they’ve fed and watered the Seeds.

I believe in True Love. It’s found in the way old couples hold hands. It’s found in the conversation of old friends. It’s seen in the way new parents hold their children for the first time. Its on elementary school playgrounds, in the sanctuaries of churches, in busy malls, and on nearly deserted street corners. It’s everywhere.

So rather than look at today as the he/she-better-do-this-or-else-it-all-means-nothing day, look at what regular-old-Love has already done in its humble way, and merely say “thank you” instead. Because True Love does exist so long as we let it grow.

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