Our local Dairy Queen is rarely crowded, due to it's convenient location apart from the mass of restaurants that occupy the North end of our community. It is the reason I enjoy taking my three little ones for special treats in reward for good work in school or for prolong accounts of good behavior. But this time, I couldn't help but wonder if God had something special He wanted to share with me. Of course I had no idea, as we took our seats and waited for our food, and maybe to the average person this exchange would have gone unnoticed, but it touched me more than this couple could have possibly known.
In this day we live, where love is disposable, spouses are exchangeable, and vows are conditional, it is rare to witness the evidence of a long lasting love. True love. One that expands time. One that grows old, and never impatient. One that is 'Old Fashioned'. It is one we all long for but are not willing to give for...
This elderly couple, of which I speak, slowly walked to a corner booth, her arm draped through his, a pair of dark lenses shading her sightless eyes. He spoke softly to her and held her arm as she felt for her seat and slid in. After ordering their food he returned and sat as they waited, constantly talking to her, explaining what was on the muted TV screen, or out the large glass window. I watched somewhat entranced over the top of my kids heads, hoping not to be noticed for fear my gawking would be misunderstood. But not once did he look away from her.
When their food arrived he carefully unwrapped her sandwich, then tore away a piece of bun, to make it easier for her to eat, before pressing it gently into her hands. As she ate he smoothed the wrapper flat before her, sprinkling on it half their shared container of fries, explaining as he went what was before her. He did the same as he readied her drink and helped her locate it. All the while patient, as she fumbled and felt and he directed her, making sure she had everything she needed before he finally lifted his wrapped burger from the tray.
He watched her while he ate, reaching out every now and then to pick a dropped crumb from her clothing. All so light and gentle that I wondered if she even knew he had done it. His care of her was so loving, and tender, and so very evident in the way he looked at her, touched her. My words do no justice to describe it.
I continued to watch as they finished and he helped her to the counter, bought her an ice cream cone and took her to their van, slowly and patiently, holding her arm and steadying her as he helped her into her seat then shut the door. It was a beautiful display of love that had me dwelling upon what they must have been like before time had stolen their youth, back when they first fell in love. Back when love was love.
They are but a rare gem in a world void of meaningful relationships. A message to us all if we are only willing to listen. The definition of 'love' is not one of reception but one of giving. Love is patient, kind, does not seek for itself, does not hold records of wrongs, it gives without expecting to receive. This man could not expect to receive back the care that he gave his wife, and yet he did so with so much love.
Maybe our generation's proclamation of love has no meaning because the meaning is no longer known, or rather, no longer accepted. To love is to be selfless. A hard pill to swallow in a world obsessed with self. But until we swallow the meaning, "love" will never last. It will continue to fade. True love, however, never fails. It lasts until death, and even so, beyond the grave. Love...
1 Corinthians 13:4-7