This past week has me reflecting on the love in my life. Last Friday, marked 21 years dating for Matt and me. Our love has been central to my life for more than half of it now. Like he said, it's the source of so many wonderful things--memories, friendships, and especially our kids.
On Monday evening, I helped our kids put together their Valentines for their school friends. They were silly and sweet as they discussed "crushes" (Lauren's is Mace, Evan's is Ruby, and Tobin prefers to keep his a secret) and then picked out which store-bought card would be best for each friend. They came home on Tuesday, with smiles and bags filled with treats and notes. Tobin had a particularly special note from a long-time friend, who thanked him for being his best friend and drew him a comic book character. I'm thankful my kids' time away from me each day is filled with the love of friendship.
Tonight, I went out with a group of neighbors to celebrate two of their birthdays. I felt grateful for the companionship and the opportunity to hear what's going in our increasingly lives. Our favorite spot was closed in honor of the nation-wide protest A Day Without Immigrants. We happily found a different place to go. I felt really moved that a small, local restaurant would give up a day of business to honor immigrants in our community. Once again, I encountered love.
When I got home, I checked my email to read messages from the kids' school with plans for teachers and parents to welcome back the nearly one-third of immigrant students who stayed home today. Our message will be simple: we love you, we missed you, and welcome back. Teachers are ready and willing to help kids in their class process the meaning of today. Earlier this evening, we talked with our kids about what it felt like to miss their friends, why they weren't at school, and why we love them and our country.
Next week, I will focus on a harder love as I mark four years from my cancer diagnosis. I feel deep gratitude to be where I am. I love my life. I also remember that in the wake of my diagnosis and the disorientation I felt, I knew one thing: I am loved.
There's a lot of fear these days, but my hope is that I can keep love in front of me--always first. I've read these verses from the Bible for as long as I can remember, but they are especially poignant at this moment in time:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:4-7