The Gift

“..will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?” ~question of intent from the traditional marriage vows

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it? What’s love but a second hand emotion? What’s love got to do, got to do with it? Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” ~Tina Turner 1984

Reading all the lyrics of the popular Tina Turner song, it’s obvious she’s singing about physical attraction. But with Valentine’s Day just past, it’s an interesting question applied to life and relationships.
What does love have to do with it?
We attribute so much to it…to love.
We get married because of it.
We have kids because of it.
Love brings both intense joy and intense pain. The joy is obvious, but the pain…oh, the pain…only someone you love deeply can hurt you just as deeply.
Love motivates both action and restraint. We do all sorts of things out of love: speak kind words, protect, sacrifice time & money so people we love can enjoy life. We also stop ourselves from saying and doing hurtful things to those we love, knowing the pain we inflict can be devastating.
But what does love have to do with living life? and is love enough in this life? without money…without hope or faith, without commitment…is love enough? We may get married because of love, but we stayed married, through good and bad and thick and thin because of commitment, not love. We stay in any relationship (family friends etc…) and work out differences, difficulties and even betrayal, not based on the feeling of love, but based on a choice to commit.

There’s a quote from one of my favorite movies, The Painted Veil: “When love and duty are one, grace is within you.”

I experienced grace this Valentine’s Day. Love and duty mingled into one.

No chocolates.
No flowers.
No jewelry.
No pretty packaging.
No candle lit dinner.
No romantic weekend getaway.
Not even a schmaltzy card.
The gift I received this Valentine’s Day was, to say the least, non-traditional.

Filled with love beyond measure, it surpassed all past gifts and will doubtless be the most memorable.

The stomach flu hit on my birthday and progressively got worse until I was reduced to a shaky, light-headed, dehydrated mess of a woman. This past Sunday, Valentine’s day, the day of true love, my servant-husband, waited on me.
But it didn’t start on Sunday. The serving started on Tuesday as I began retching into a bowl because I was too dizzy to walk.
Over the next 5+ days, my Valentine did the dishes. He washed, dried and folded laundry. He took care of all the prior responsibilities I had. He took our children to Church. He schlepped kids around to basketball games & friends houses. He made all the meals. He continued to do his own work, checking in on me as often as possible. And, last but not least, he cleaned up after his very sick wife.

He loved me in word and deed. His actions, tenderness, and kind words spoke both love and commitment…love and duty…grace…to me (and my kids whether they get it right now or not).
Thank you, honey, from the bottom of my still shaky heart.
I love you.

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2 Replies to “The Gift”

  1. Mrs. Horstman,
    I check in on your blog now and again (I hope you don't mind, since you don't exactly know me), but have never commented. I decided that should change. I've really appreciated the transparency and humility that is so evident in your writings, as well as your poetic imagination. Thank you for writing–and please, keep it up!

    Though I'm sorry it required your being so ill, I loved reading your Valentine's account. That is love–not feverish emotions, but selfless, Christ-like service. It sounds as if God has blessed you with a good husband, and him with a good wife. 🙂

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