I just came home from mass this afternoon, and I was sitting next to an older gentlemen. Never talked to him, never said a word to him, but today he reached over to me and began a conversation. Now, everyone who knows me can understand how extremely awkward this is for me, I have a bit of a social awkwardness when it comes to random people, but that is besides the point.
He reaches over and goes, “Can you believe today is my 50th aniversary? I’ve been married for 50 years. What a journey.”
I replied, “Oh? How that working out for you?”
“Well, like with anything, it’s all about patience. Do you see my wife?”
“She passed away, about 10 years ago. You see, I come to mass everyday so I can see her.”
“How’s that going for you?” At this point, I have to admit I was a bit creeped out. Not gonna lie.
“Kid, your generation has perverted love so much that you don’t even recognize it when you see it. Love isn’t something that needs to be touched, or always present next to you. Love is carried in your heart. That women loved me through war, through my infidelity, through my illness, and even to her grave. She just wanted me to understand that her life was about me, and her heart was all mine.”
My only question at this point was, “Well, when did you begin to understand how much she loved you?”
“When I was forced to say goodbye. Wanna know my favorite bible verse? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, kid. I read it every year during our anniversary. Not because of the love is kind bullshit, no, no. I read it for one line, the most important line. ‘Love is patient.’
“Can I ask you something? Why are you sharing this with me?”
“Because it took me 75 years to figure out what love actually was. Don’t make the same mistake I made. Love is patient, but it requires patience from us as well. God Bless you, kid.
And he gave me a kiss on the forehead, and went about his day. When I left mass, I had a text message from a friend who asked me to reread, Love Does by Bob Goff. Well, when I opened the book, here was the first passage:
“That’s what love does – it pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end. When you go after something you love, you’ll do anything it takes to get it, even if it costs everything.”
I don’t understand love whatsoever, but what I do understand is that it is a powerful thing. Love is patient, but we also are required to have patience. Love isn’t found by random interactions, or in a state of desperation. It’s found through patience. The line the gives me the most peace about love in that bible verse, is when it ends,
“but above all, love never fails.”
Indeed, it does not. Me too.