This, friends, is what I wish the world knew about love. I wish I could take the world on my knee and hold it close and then tell it stories of my life and my family and what they’ve taught me about the kind of love no Hollywood movie can capture.

The kind of love that wakes every hour of the night to make sure the other is alive. The kind that cleans its spouse’s bottom and changes her clothes because she’s been sleeping for 48 hours straight. The kind that bends low to clip his wife’s toenails because his wife has had brain cancer for eight years and she won’t even walk or talk most days, but if there’s worship music she will dance and let me tell you about the kind of love that microwaves potatoes for itself for those eight years because he has no one to cook for him. The kind that rises early to write a sermon and pray and then bathe his best friend and hoist her into a wheelchair and prop up a book, Anna Karenina, should today be the day she finds a miracle, and brings a mug of tea to her lips and watches it dribble down her chin.

I wish I could tell the world about this kind of love, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It has four children first, and it walks one of those children through four years of anorexia until she turns 60 pounds. And nurses call her a miracle and love hugs the space where its daughter used to be and tries to believe. It’s the kind of love that pulled that same child from kindergarten years earlier, and took her home to home-school her, because she was so afraid of the teacher. It’s the kind of love that waits up with you through the night, reading a book outside your bedroom door, just so you won’t be afraid of the monsters.

I wish I could tell the world about the love that met me at 26 years old in the front seat of a car as I tried to drive my husband and I into traffic and he grabbed the wheel and  pulled us to the side and told me I had a choice. Me shaking because I’d relapsed hard into anorexia and it being three years of marriage and not eating. And he told me that I had to choose between him and food, because he couldn’t wait around and watch me die. He just couldn’t. And I took a minute but I chose him and then love drove us home.

Mum has been healed now from brain cancer for three years; this is her and dad on the beach this summer.

The same kind of love that didn’t mind when I couldn’t open my body for him on our wedding night because we were virgins and I was all kinds of anxious and the wine wasn’t doing anything. The kind of love that waits, 23 years, and then some, because that’s the kind of love that lasts.

I wish, dear world, that I could tell you about the love that hung for you on a cross at Calvary, a perfect kind of love that healed people. A love that looked up and saw Zacchaeus in a tree and looked down and saw a woman who’d been bleeding for 12 years and who fed thousands and cast out demons and ate with sinners, and then was crucified. A love that died because the world didn’t recognize him. 

Oh world, how I wish I could tell you.

But I can’t. All I can do is wrap you tight in my arms and live it. Live that humble, long suffering, beautiful kind of way one day at a time and hope you’ll open your eyes and see God for who he truly is.