Defining love

How does one define love? It depends on who you are talking about. There are so many different kinds of love…Mother love, child love, grandchild love, sibling love, friend love, love thy neighbor…Lots of different ways to love and so many people to care about.

But, I am talking about the love of a significant other….that person that makes your heart explode when they walk into the same room you are in.

It is interesting, this thing called chemistry. How is it that a girl can be in a room with many boys milling around, but only ONE catches her attention as the quick glance exchange makes her heart skip a beat, or two or three?

I remember the night I met my husband. I had gone out for the evening with two of my roommates after they spent quite a lot of time convincing me to do so. I wasn’t really in the mood to go anywhere but they did not want to go out with only the two of them. Those were the days when there was a sense of propriety about how women were seen in public. They thought it would look better if there were three of us. They wanted to go to a “ladies night out” that was advertised and hosted by a local bowling alley on the ballroom side of the building. I reluctantly agreed and off we went.

The evening did not start off very well as a couple of different guys came up to ask me to dance. Nope, nope and nope! Just NOT in the mood, they were NOT my type, and thank you anyway! Then I felt a hand tap me on the shoulder and I turned around to tell them again “NO THANK YOU!and there he stood. Little did I know it at the time, but my future was standing there in front of me with a head full of sandy blonde hair, an earnest grin, bashfully asking me to dance. He was very good looking but what attracted me most was his shy nature. I agreed to dance and that was the beginning of Chapter One of the book of our life together. We eventually got married and will be celebrating 50 years of marriage this coming February.

Chemistry….we still have it going! We were both very lucky to find someone where the love endured! It did not just endure, it grew and thrived! My heart still goes pitter pat when he enters a room I am in! He claims the same is true for him.

There are a number of things that did not work out as we originally intended. We have had our own fair share of disappointments and failures and do-overs! We have had some dreams go “poof disappearing into thin air. But, we have had a lot of blessings too along the way. It seems that life brings to us a series of contrasting experiences so we understand the blessings when we see them, similar to how comforting the warmth of a fire feels after being chilled, or how good a soft bed feels when one is exhausted. I think life is full of contrasts for the purpose of making us grow and learn gratitude.

Like many people, we got married, bought a house, and had kids. In the early years, we both worked to make ends meet. Then his career took off which meant we moved many times. Those years were exciting as the future seemed endlessly bright. We became financially comfortable, and I was free to be the Mom and wife I always aspired to be. Yes, I was that antiquated in my thinking. I was rewarded with the life I desired. We had more of life’s challenges along the way, but weathered them as best we could.

As I write this, many years have passed by and we are now old! I remember when our parents were our age and we definitely thought of them as old. But despite what others see when they look at us, we don’t see each other in the same way the world does. We do recognize that we are no longer that lively, fun loving couple who danced their hearts out the first night we met. Well, ACTUALLY, we are still lively and fun loving but we don’t have the same amount of energy that we once had. Instead of dancing the jitterbug, we are now waltzing through life.

We LOVE our life together. Retirement has brought us the gift of time. We have our devotions and prayer in the mornings after a walk. We plan our meals and work in the garden. We read books and enjoy researching various topics on the internet. We have quiet conversation on many topics just before dinner. Then, every Friday and Saturday night, we listen to a radio station called Heartland radio that plays the most beautiful soul stirring music and we let our spirits dance with the rhythm of the music. Sundays we go to church and enjoy visiting the Lord and seeing our various friends while in attendance.

We see each other at a heart level these days. We would not impress any other human being at all with our appearance on any given day. What is so beautiful about this is we are each living an existence with someone who sees our beauty through the wrinkles, the white hair and our misshapen older bodies. It is the purest of loves, really. It is a love that has no expectations but rather a love that wants to be of service to one another. Love is the way my heart swells when he walks by and pats me on the head as I am reading in my chair. Love is that passing hug we give each other on a whim. Love is the way a heart feels when watching the other sleep deeply during a daytime nap. We can see that we are not what we used to be, but God willing, theres a lot of life left to live. We know we are in it for the long haul now, and we are happy to do it!

We can see the “Exit” sign clearly these days, knowing that the time is coming when one or the other of us will go through that door, but we do not dwell on it. Our awareness that this probability exists and is getting closer every year makes living in the NOW so very important. Our past is used up and our future is unknown. There is no point looking in either direction because it just steals from the moment of now. These days, I spend a lot of time in the NOW reflecting on my good fortune. I observe my husband going about his day and take joy just watching him and offer up many thanks to God for that very fortuitous moment so long ago when he tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around to see a very beautiful soul standing there with a smile on his face and hope shining in his eyes that I would say yes!

Yes! Yes! and Yes! A hundred times over through the years I have said yes to this person who makes my soul take flight. I cannot imagine my life without him which is my biggest incentive for living in the now! How do I define love? Loving another more than one loves oneself! That is the definition of love in our home!

Once upon a time when we were young!


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