Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Milk Chocolate Love or Nursing Home Love?

"So, do you have any big plans for tomorrow?"

Mom and I looked at each other.  What was tomorrow?  Oh.  Valentine's Day.  We turned back to the banker.  "No, not really."

The older I get, the more prone I am to forget this holiday.  Years ago you would have found me making Valentines for all the kids in my kindergarten class (at least my "friends" - definitely not Joshua the bully!).  Then several years later, I'd be handing out Valentines to the kids in my homeschool co-op class (and especially treasuring that one I received from that certain boy).  Then came the Valentine's Day when everyone was sick with influenza except Mom, Dad, and I, and I learned much about sacrificial love!

Three years ago?  Wishing for a rose someday.  Two years ago?  Feeling a little left out.  Last year?  Too busy with a concert to really care.

And then, this year:  I've almost forgot.

We saw a sign yesterday which stated boldly, "Roses + chocolate = love."  Hmm...perhaps that's the reason I could really care less about this holiday and why I'm tempted to kiss Valentine's Day goodbye once and for all.  Love.

Well, not true love.  It's the milk chocolate love I'm talking about.  The love which comes stuffed among a bouquet of flowers.  The love scrawled underneath a cheesy Valentine.  The sweet-heart candy love.  It's so cliche.  It's so...fluffy.

Okay.  I should admit, I wouldn't mind a bit of fluffy love someday from that special someone.  Really.  But, that's not true love.

True love is the nitty-gritty side of marriage, of families, of friendships.  True love is the something that will hold you through the battle.  True love goes much, much deeper than "I love you."

This Sunday as our family was leaving church, my brother stopped to ask an elderly lady how she was doing.  Her husband was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, among all his other numerous health problems.  It's been a difficult ride for her and her family.  Her response to Ben's question was, "I'm sticking in there."

That's true love.  Sticking in there.

Take Harold for example, the ninety-something year old man who attends our church.  His wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several years ago and fears him at times, and then has bursts of anger sometimes when he visits her.  Same thing with Bruce...except his wife doesn't even know him anymore.

Both are sticking in there.  That's true love.

I don't think flowers are really going to demonstrate how much these people love their spouses.  Their presence, their concern, their prayers, their dedicated daily care...these might somewhat reveal how deep their love goes.  

So, do you love like that?  Or is your love a milk chocolate love?

You may not be married (unlike the people above, and very much like me), but you probably have family.  Dad.  Mom.  Siblings.  Is your love toward them a milk chocolate love, or is it a nursing home love?  Is it going to stick in there when the going gets tough, or will it just melt away?  How about toward your friends?

True love is sacrificial.  True love is forgiving.  True love is faithful.

And you know what, to me, true love looks like a Savior dying, bloodied, broken, and bruised, stretched across a tree.  True love looks like a Redeemer stepping out of His grave clothes and proclaiming victory over death, sin, and the devil.  True love looks like a book covered with blood, blotting out the records of times I haven't had true love.


That's true love.

Though I'm tempted to altogether kiss Valentine's Day goodbye, I'm choosing to really consider my love, to evaluate what kind of love it is - fluffy milk chocolate love, or sacrificial nursing home love?  Is my love as shallow as the world's, or it's like my Lord's?

"In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
(1 John 4:10-11 ESV)  

Happy Valentine's Day.

In HIS Love,
Taylor

P.S. You may have noticed the lack of posts here; I have too!  :)  I have been concentrating on re-building Godly Girlhood and writing series for the new site.  If you'd like to follow the progress, head on over to www.GodlyGirlhood.org.  I will be putting a more concentrated effort on Godly Girlhood than Surrendering My All, so if the frequency of posting decreases here, don't worry, but head on over to GG.

11 comments:

Kathryn Grace said...

This is so well put, Taylor!

Taylor Garms said...

Thank you, Kathryn! :)

yankeegospelgirl said...

True love hurts so much... especially when it isn't returned.

Taylor Garms said...

YGG: I heard a quote the other day from Chip Ingram (not one of my favorite radio personalities, but for once I liked something he said!) as follows:

"Love is giving someone what they need the most when they deserve it the least."

Yes, true love can and often does hurt, as I (and my family) have experienced many times, and it's very hard - especially when it is rejected, cast aside for something "better", or returned with hate.

But something I have learned through rejection and hurt is that I grow. I learn to love even when it hurts. Sometimes I've wrestled with the desire to stop loving and shutting up my heart to love because of pain. But, another quote really puts this into perspective:

"Loving can cost a lot, but not loving always costs even more."

Just a few random things I've learned through the valley of love! :)

yankeegospelgirl said...

Thank you Taylor. That's really encouraging!

Out of curiosity, how would I go about submitting to Godly Girlhood once it's up and running? (Not that I would necessarily have the time, just wondering.)

Taylor Garms said...

You're welcome!

You can visit here for submission guidelines and topics. I also have been in the process of creating a contributor's info pack, including GG's guideline's for modesty and purity. Hopefully I'll finish those soon! :)

Aidyl Ewoh said...

Amazing post. Thanks for writing that.
~Aidyl
aidylewoh.blogspot.com

Taylor Garms said...

Aidyl: You're welcome, and thank you! :)

Buggingkatie said...

I read your post today, and it made me consider how I love others. I'm thankful for the comparison you gave of "milk chocolate love" and "nursing home love." =) I was truly challenged. Do you mind if I share this post and some other things that you've written? I will make sure to give you the credit.

Taylor Garms said...

*BuggingKate: I'm very glad to hear this was challenging to you! After rereading it today, it challenged me myself again as well.

Yes, you may share this post and others as long as you leave a link back to my blog, www.SurrenderingMyAll.blogspot.com and give credit (like you said you would!). I pray others will be blessed.

Blessings to you!

Buggingkatie said...

Thanks, Taylor! =)