WEDNESDAY’S WORD: AGAPE (LOVE)

LAUNDRY BARLEY DARTS

 

Agape is the highest of all love.  It is an unconditional love.  It is a sacrificial love.  And it is a selfless love.  It goes far beyond friendship, family, or erotic love.  It’s a kind of love that marriages are to emulate.  It’s not a glamorous love.  In fact, it’s inconvenient, difficult, not very pretty, and often painful.

Our Valentine’s Day was one of Agape Love.  It was not celebrated with roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, diamonds, fancy clothes, or dinner at a restaurant.  Instead, Keith dressed this morning in his Carhartt’s.  He did all the morning chores, cut-up half a hog, worked a twelve-hour shift, did all the evening chores, and paid bills.  It was my day off.  So, I dressed in a stained t-shirt and worn-out jeans.  My hair was in a disarray and I wore no makeup.  I did laundry, dishes, delivered tax information to the accountant, worked on a family party for Saturday, cooked 1/4 of a hog (for another celebration), and made dinner.

Our evening meal was dished at 7:00 pm.  However, there was no room available at the kitchen table.  It is full of party preparations.  We had to eat in the living room, but first a load of clean laundry needed to be moved out of one chair.  It was relocated to the bed in our bedroom.  After dinner, the laundry was returned the chair, so Keith could go to bed.  Dinner dishes and the laundry will wait until morning.  Why?  I’ll be pulling the cooked pork.  It won’t wait.

Now, I understand that most folks don’t fantasize about such things.  In fact, I know many women that would threaten their spouses with divorce, if they spent Valentine’s Day this way; much less, everyday.  Instead, their food is grown by others.  Their dishes are done by machine.  Their laundry is done at the dry-cleaners.  Their hair and nails are done at the salon.  And any parties are catered.  I also know men that won’t work 8 hours, much less 16.  They drink or play video games; all day.  The bills don’t get paid.  Their wives have to do all the work, or it goes undone.  And let’s not forget the folks that demand or begrudgingly give Valentine’s Day gifts.  Where’s the romance in any of that?

Our evening was hectic, but peaceful.  It was tiring, but gratifying.  When Keith kissed me goodnight, our Valentine’s Day ended, the same way it had begun.  Yes, it was just another day on our homestead… another day of Agape Love.

 

 

MONDAY MEMOIR: FOR THE LOVE OF BRUSSELS SPROUTS

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

It was the week of Valentine’s Day, twenty years ago.  I was standing in the produce aisle, with my three young sons.  My middle son, Ted was sobbing… hysterically.  While, I was doing my best to comfort him, a stranger approached me.  She boldly chastised me “for making him cry”.  And then she demanded, “Just give him some candy!”  True, there was a bulk-bin of candy behind us.  However, I firmly told the stranger, it wasn’t candy that Ted wanted.

In fact, candy would have been cheaper.  Instead, Ted wanted fresh Brussels sprouts, in the middle of winter, for $8 a pound.  I had been explaining to Ted that we’d get frozen Brussels sprouts, when the lady had interrupted.  And when the lady tried to give Ted a piece of candy, he pushed her hand away.  Then Ted once again, very loudly professed his undying love for Brussels sprouts.  The lady’s face instantly flash-froze and she was speechless.  She had no other words of wisdom.  She simply turned and walked away.

 

THURSDAY THANKS: GIFTS OF LOVE #1

EARINGS BLAZE ORANGE BARLEY DARTS

 

I have never known any woman to complain about receiving gifts, especially jewelry.  I’m sure they exist.  I just don’t know them.  However, most have strong preferences about the type and cost.  Like it or not, it’s assumed that women only want what’s most expensive.  After all, how much you love someone is directly tied to how much you spend, right?  Not necessarily.  I’ve known gals that gave up diamonds for a rock-hard shoulder to cry on.

Truly, there are still women who believe it’s the thought that matters most.  And as a mom and a woman, I wanted my sons to be thoughtful gift-givers.  Thankfully, over the years, my sons have proved themselves worthy.  And believe it or not, these blaze-orange earrings were such a gift.  They came from my youngest son, when he was ten-years old.  Yes, I admit that I was shocked when I opened the box on Christmas morning.

It wasn’t just the color that was shocking.  I had no idea that my baby had bought them.  Apparently, he’d spied them at a summer garage sale and paid for them with money from his piggy-bank.  He had kept them secret and hidden, until Christmas day.  He was so excited for me to try them on and wear them.  Of course, I thanked him.  Then, I shared that I’d wear them, as soon as I found clothing to match.  He responded that I already had lots of clothes that matched.  I was confused and asked him to show me what he meant.

My son wasted no time at all.  However, instead of my bedroom closet, he opened the hunting gear closet.  He laughed and said, “See.  I told you, you have lots that match!”  No, I had never considered wearing jewelry with hunting gear.  I also hadn’t considered wearing hunter orange on Christmas.  With such a thoughtful gift, he told me that I could now do both.  And I did.

Eleven years later, I still have these blaze-orange earrings.  I wear them every day… during deer season.  They are perfect!  And I am very thankful for my son’s exceptionally, thoughtful gift.  It’s a treasure worth more than gold.