The mother covered her daughter with a pink blanket covered with big hearts of different colors. She tucked in the sides around her body to keep her warm. Taking the handles behind the wheelchair, the mother pushed her onto the sidewalk to make her way into her daughter’s school. The wheelchair carries all her various supplies and includes her music player. It is her home for she is unable to move or speak or share. Though technically a teenager, her daughter is in my three-year-old’s class.
Our daycare is a place that welcomes medically-fragile children to receive the care they need while their parents work. James’ class is full of children who run by the aid of wheels or walkers or their own two-feet. There are those who breathe on their own and those that run with an oxygen tank by their side. It is the Kingdom of God – a place where all are celebrated as children equally worthy of love and nurture.
The gift of watching this mother prepare her daughter for school is all the Valentine’s Day moment I need. It is the picture of Love-Made-Flesh – a Love that sets up home in the pain, finds hope in the ashes, and shows up each day as a steward of the bittersweet gifts of Life.
That kind of Love endures longer than roses, touches deeper than shout-outs on social media, and could never be replicated by Hallmark. It is the Love that thrives closest to fear and pain and disappointment. In the moments that break us open wide, that kind of Love steps in and gives strength to live the life set before us. It demands to be embodied in human flesh so that we can walk hand-in-hand through the hills and through the valleys.
So I wish a happy Valentine’s day to all those who are making Love flesh for those in their midst…
…the parents who persist in seeking medical care to find relief and a future for their children
…the family who lives life amidst the constant battles of chronic illness
…the couple who continues to love one another despite the persecution from a culture flooded with fear and injustice
…the son who attends to his mother’s side while her body attempts to recover its life and vitality
…the family that seeks to find their own stability when life’s waves threaten to consume and destroy.
I pause and give thanks for this kind of Love today as I pray for all relationships that do the risky, difficult, complicated task of loving another human being this day….
…and for these guys, too, that continue to call forth all that is within me to Love this messy and challenging and beautiful life we’ve been given.