Where it will go. What it will do. When it will act.
Ebbing and flowing in such new and unimaginable ways that love cannot be missed.
Except for when it can…
Say, perhaps, when love looks like a tuckered-out, wobbly woman with a cane going to buy groceries for her family.
As she hobbles through the aisles, she drops items, forgets things and holds on to her cart for dear life until she rounds the corner to see the beautiful line of checkout lanes right in front of her.
She turns slowly and steadily into the nearest one, grateful that it is only a few feet away—less steps, you see. For her shoulders ache and her eyes are blurry and her knees are buckling so she prays that she can get her overflowing cart of items onto the belt without embarrassing herself. And then she turns to slowly take the items out…one by steady one…
But then she looks up.
And a couple behind her with only a few items catches her eye, so she says, “Oh, I’m sorry, please go in front of me…you only have a few things and I…”
But before she could say, “…am slow…” she is cut off by the woman.
“Well, we WERE ahead of you anyways. They opened this line for us.” Her husband shakes his head laughing, “Some people!” And as they pass by, the tuckered-out, wobbly woman looks down at her feet and fights back tears.
And although she wants to say a great many things…
Ranging from an “I’m sorry. Medication makes my eyes sensitive to light and my sunglasses aren’t prescription, so I can’t see worth a darn. I just saw the open line.”
To a “Blankety-blank-blank-blank-blank, be nice to the pregnant woman with the cane, y’all!!!!”
The woman stays silent.
So with hot tears sliding down her face, she gingerly continues to take the items slowly out of her cart…one-by-one-by-one…
Until the sighs begin.
Coming now from the woman behind her, clearly frustrated with the speed of the line as she exclaims,“WELL, I JUST GUESS I AM GOING TO BE LATE!!!!”
And the tuckered-out, wobbly woman apologizes.
Then after what feels like years, she quietly pays and collects her groceries, loads them all into her van, climbs up into her seat and lets out a deep breath before calling her husband…
To whom she relays her story intermingled with sob after sob after sob.
But as she pulls into the garage, he is waiting.
He hugs her first, says a few choice words about the people who made her cry and then directs his tear-stained girl to the comfort and safety of her bed.
And for the first time since walking into the store, the tuckered-out, wobbly woman feels like she can breathe.
It surprises me.
The way it will rescue and defend and endure.
The way it patiently holds and bends and flexes.
The way it quietly waits. (Or in its absence, does not.)
The way it says “You are more important than my schedule or my right to be first or my indignation.”
Love will go anywhere its asked.
No matter the sacrifice, the humiliation or the pain that comes, it will ebb and flow…
Washing quietly over the people who need it the most.
Into every place until love becomes commonplace and the only surprising thing that remains…
Is the absence of it.