the parenting dare blog
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Scene from The Princess Bride: Westley is “mostly dead” and Miracle Max wants to know why Westley should live.
“HEY! Hello in there! Hey! What’s so important? Whatcha got here that’s worth living for?”
Miracle Max then presses on Westley’s chest and this comes out, “True Love.”
Inigo Montoya jumps in, “He said True Love. There’s not a more noble cause than that.”
Max responds, “True love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice M.L.T., a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky. I love that.”
(Oh my stars! Watch Princes Bride again!)
The point: True Love is the Greatest Thing in the WORLD!
It is enduring. Enriching. Encouraging. It elevates and inspires. It brings us back from the dead.
Here are some ways that the people around me have experienced love.
You’re gonna be blessed!
Danielle Komp is a traveling nurse down in Phoenix. She had many examples of what love looks like in her life. The one I wanted to share with you:
“While I've been in Kansas City, I become great friends with this amazing family, the Williams. They have 4 daughters: Angelina, Sofia, Felicity, and Philomena. And they just had their son Leo last April. The Williams love me so well, that I often wonder am I loving them just as well or enough? I told them this one night that they love me so well and that I love them and hope that I am loving them enough. Tessa, the wife, jokingly asked if I'd like to prove how much I love them by being Leo's godmother. I began crying, feeling so loved that this wonderful, beautiful, messy, holy family loves me enough to ask me to play such a role in the life of their child. I love them the best I can by coloring with Mena, and playing ponies with Feli, by having Sofia play her trombone for me, by helping teach Angelina how to drive. I pray for them and love them so so much. Their beautiful chaos is such an amazing example of love to me that I pray for love like theirs.”
I love how a family just brought her into their fold.
Next, I spoke with Anna and Tyson Koontz. First of all, they are a walking example of What Love Looks Like. I could tell you stories about this amazing couple. My favorite is how strong, manly Tyson has adapted to a child that didn’t fit the mold. And to watch Tyson love on that boy is to watch love in action. It’s pretty cool.
Tyson made this good observation:
"Love is selfless. Real love gives: 'I love you, so I am giving or doing this for you.' The world takes. World is selfish: 'I love you because I can get this from you.'"
Anna has a heart of gold and loves to see pictures/read stories on Love that Made It Through the Miles.
She also said that the U.S. Military are absolute love in action. “They lay down their lives for people they don’t even know.”
My son Mitchell was at Mass and he observed a family in front of him at Blessed Sacrament Church in Wichita. A mom (wearing a flannel type dress) was holding her Down’s Syndrome son; he was about five years of age. The way she held him and loved on him melted my Mitchell. He said, “As I watched the boy gaze up at his mom, I saw love."
Jessica Ragas is a beautiful woman. She is dating a great guy. My son. When I asked her what love looked like to her she told me, “Eric just receives me well in conversation because he listens to me. He doesn’t try to interrupt me or think about what he wants to say next while I’m talking. He listens and asks questions to know my heart a little more. I was crying because I was feeling overwhelmed about making a decision to do a third year with FOCUS or not, and he was just there listening and holding me. That’s what Jesus does.”
Jessica also spent time observing a family at Mass, “We sat behind a young married couple at Mass with two little girls; one is two years old and the other is an infant. The mom took time during mass to breastfeed her daughter and when that was over, the father held the baby. When parents hold their children so lovingly, and share in the joy of their children, I can’t help but smile. That same couple invited us over for coffee and doughnuts after mass and opened their home to us. Hospitality is love.”
If you think about it, Mass time is a spectacular time to observe Love in Action. We have The Truest Love of All on the Altar and we can sit and witness familial relationships all around us. One surprising moment like that came for me when I was at a Sunday Mass while living in St. Louis. One of my middle school students snuggled next to her mom; the mom let her 13-year old daughter lean in on her. It was a surprise to me because most teens sit way.over.there. But this girl sat close and the mom looked at her with such profound love. Karen was truly the apple of her mom’s eye. I felt so blessed to witness the exchange.
Another “lover” of people is Renee Riter from Blessed Sacrament. She has recently retired from her position as Stewardship Coordinator and Becky Meyer, a co-worker, told me that to be near Renee is to be near Love. “Renee does this thing. She looks you in the eye. And she sees. And accepts and loves. She makes everyone feel loved. All with her eyes and smile. She is amazing and everyone wants to be around her.”
Here are some great thoughts and observations from my good friend, Barb Pianalto:
“Just today I saw two 5 year olds figure out how to play Hide and Seek with Polly Pockets. They discussed and debated who would go first, where to hide said toys and in what rooms of our house. They stopped often to adjust their expectations and outcomes of the game. They added the 2 year old who felt left out. My Momma heart just exploded at the tender way they protected each other's feelings without even knowing it. They were kind and caring after each round making sure to praise each other when the objects were found. "That was a good hiding place" "Would you like to go again?" "Yay, you found it!" Oh to be like them......
“I am in the midst of menopause. I am tearful at the weirdest times, achy all over, cranky even when I try real hard not to be and oh the hot/cold flashes......my word. My love, my life, my husband is a living example of deep, abiding love. He just laughs when I am so sorry for rolling my eyes for the 100th time and it's not even 9am. He put heat packs in my bed to warm it up while I was in the shower so my bed felt toasty since he knew I was cold. He bought my favorite pretzels at the store when he ran to pick up his prescription. EVERY time we are at Sams, he stops me in front of the flowers and asks if he can buy me some. (I love having fresh flowers in my house.) Since he has retired, we are having a blast. He has continued his quiet practice of NEVER raising his voice to me even when pushed to the edge by a maniac wife. ( I think I am most grateful for this.)”
Barb shared the following, not to toot her own horn, but rather to give an example of deep love in action.
“Our daughter-in-law (new mom) texted me at 4 a.m. on Thursday. Could we come to Enid Oklahoma as soon as possible? The 7-week old was sick and she was exhausted. Our son Matt had returned to work last week. Of course I jumped out of bed, woke up Grandpa and 10 minutes later, we were in the truck. By 7 a.m., we had tucked her into bed to get some sleep, cared for our grandbaby and cleaned the house. When Matt got home from work, we sent them to dinner alone. Matt said they had "refilled their emotional love tanks" through conversation at dinner. My heart was full again. To me, love in action is just that......action. Even if you don't know what to do, ACT. MOVE. ASSIST. Do what you can to help each other.”
(What I, Lori, loved about that whole scene: the daughter-in-law reached out. She didn’t stay in her yuck. She said, “Hey. I need help.”)
This is from my daughter, Rachel:
“I saw love in action when Grandma Doerneman was dying. Dad and I went to see Grandma in her last days. I watched my dad walk into the room, sort of look around and assess the situation, then he sat down by Grandma and made her laugh by telling little light jokes. Grandma, who was in pain, chuckled. It was incredibly heartwarming."
“Then, through the next day, I watched my dad interact with his mom. It reminded me of the book, ‘I’ll Love You Forever.” He was so gentle and kind. He just sat by her, held her hand and comforted her. He was unconditional love in action and it was beautiful.”
If you are like me, after all of this LOVE in ACTION stuff, you may want to DO SOMETHING. Well, here's a list of observations (from my friend Barb) on what Real Love Looks Like. It's not just the big things. It's the little things, too.
Beautiful. Simple. Life-Giving. Love.