Seeing What Real Love Looks Like

As featured in the Island Packet

A lot of people think that they know what love is. They think that if they meet someone at a coffee shop or at a bar and go on two or three dates that they are “in love.”

Others think that an updated Facebook status or an affectionate social media shout out shows some kind of authentic love. Personally, I don’t think so.

Let me tell you what I think real love looks like.

Several years ago I was on a mission trip in Jamaica and I was asked by the project coordinator if I wanted to make a special trek out into the jungle to bring aid to some folks who were in distress. – I agreed not really knowing what I was getting into.

So we hopped into a pickup truck and traveled out into the middle of no-where, way out off some back Jamaican dirt road. After traveling a very long way out the project leader pulls over and shows me a small path that leads into the jungle. He hands me a couple of bags of groceries and we head out.

The brush on either side of us is way over our head and we walk for a good 25 minutes before I start to wonder if we might actually be lost.

“How much farther?” I ask. “Just a bit more” came back the reply.
5 minutes later we arrive at a little shack in no-man’s land. The project leader calls in and I hear a faint woman’s voice reply back.

Come to find out there was an elderly couple living in this little run-down house. The husband had become blind, deaf and disabled – so badly so that his wife would literally sit by him all day and all night and take care of him. As such she had no way to get help, or for that matter even food.

Real love is when you love your spouse so much that you’d rather starve to death yourself then leave them frightened and alone by themself.

This past weekend, I traveled back to Ohio where I saw my grandparents who have been married 65 years this summer.

For years now my grandfather has undergone dialysis three times a week and has slowly endured the degenerative effects of Parkinson’s disease. He has been to the hospital more times than I can count and we have been told over and over how he probably won’t pull through, even though time and time again he has miraculously managed to. I love my grandfather more than I can express, but truth-be-told the last few years have been emotionally exhausting.

Yet still, faithful and true, never wavering, stands my grandmother – taking care of my bedridden grandfather’s every need – feeding him, washing him, doing things for him that no person should ever have to do for their family member, forgoing sleep and personal care and sometimes even insult, living frequently in the hospital, trying to cry when he won’t see.

It’s not that she doesn’t have help – it’s simply that she wouldn’t have it any other way. He is hers and as such she will do anything for him.

The Bible tells us that God is love and tells how Jesus loves us so much that he was willing to die for us. I not sure that fact seems to make sense for many of us.

But when I think of the woman in the jungle or my grandmother, suddenly a love like Jesus’ love for us – a real love – seems to make a lot more sense to me.

I am grateful for these women who have shown me Jesus.