What is True Love? Since moving into our new home, we’ve been much more aware of and interactive with our neighbors than our previous house. We’ve only been here coming a year, but in that short time I’ve watched the life changes of one of the neighbor’s right next door. Shortly after we moved in, I had stopped by the house during the morning and noticed an ambulance and several additional cars parked out front of the next door neighbors. We had seen the elderly couple living there on a few occasions bringing groceries in or something, but never really met them. But for some reason as I saw the ambulance I felt a sudden dread that something had happened.
I pictured in my mind that one of them had had a heart attack and the paramedics would come rushing out with a body on the gurney and speed off in the ambulance, trying to get to the hospital in time to save a their life. I took my time doing what I needed to at the house, but wasn’t curious enough to wait until the scene was fulfilled. One day my wife officially met the gentleman as our dog ran over to introduce himself. I remember her telling me later that evening how the husband told how his wife had had a stroke and was in a nursing facility. He said “I don’t think she’s coming home this time”.
That phrase stuck with me. Over the next few months we watched as the husband would very faithfully leave in the morning and come home every evening. Again I pictured the scene as the man would wake up and get himself ready, then go into the nursing home. He’d arrive slightly before breakfast and help his wife get ready to go to the cafeteria. He would spend the entire day by her side, then tuck her in bed for the evening with a kiss on the forehead and return home after it was already dark. I couldn’t help but watch for him each evening. Something in me wanted to go over and talk to him and ask if I could help, but I never did. Finally the day came when I saw the moving truck out front. In a matter of days, everything was gone. We later found out from their son that the couple had built that house together back in the 50’s and were the only people who had ever lived there.
Growing up one of my dads favorite movies was “Where the Red Fern Grows”. The story is about a young boy who gets two bloodhound puppies for his birthday, a male and female. In typically fashion the movie shows how the boy and the dogs grow up together and become like one person. The climax of the movie comes when one of the dogs is shot while hunting with the boy. They do everything they can, but can’t save the dog. The boy is devastated, but has hope as he clings to the other dog for solace.
The next day when the boy goes to feed the dog, it’s gone. As they search for him, they find him lying on the grave of the other dog. They try to coax him away, but he won’t move. As the days go by the other dog quits eating, playing, and interacting. He slowly gets weaker, until one morning they find the dog has died on the grave of its mate. The boy buries the dog next to the other. One day a few weeks later as the boy goes out to the graves of the dogs, he finds a rare red fern growing between the two dogs.
Have you ever thought about how much you love something or someone? We say things like we “love chocolate” or “love football”, but how would losing those things really affect you? My great grandparents got married when they were 15 and 16. My great grandfather died when he was 83. Today we celebrate people who have made it 10 years. My great grandfather would have called that the honeymoon stage.
See there’s something wrong with society today. We’ve lost the true meaning of “Love”. We all want it. We long for it. We romanticize about it as we watch anything from “Gone with the Wind” to “Twilight”. That love everlasting. But love no longer endures. It passes at the first sign of trouble or as the newest model comes out.
Our world has made everything replaceable. Cars, phones, computers, houses, clothes, friends, are all replaceable. We don’t like them so we change them out for something else. In doing so, we’ve made love about ourselves. We have others take care of our loved ones in a nursing home. We pay other people to raise our kids for us so that we can work harder, make more money, and buy more stuff to replace the stuff we already have.
True love is more than about us. It’s not an emotion or a moment that feels good. It’s something more than that. It’s a connection that you can’t explain. It’s physical. Not sexual, but physical in the sense that it harms your body to be apart from it. You ache not to have that thing or someone any longer.
Finding true love requires sacrifice to yourself.
It’s deciding to turn off the distractions to look outside of yourself. It’s logging off Facebook to throw the ball for your dog. It’s turning off the TV to spend more time with your kids. It’s declining the promotion because it means less time with your family. It’s saying “no” to church so that you can spend personal time with your God.
It’s stopping writing this blog to talk to my wife…