As I completed my second valentine’s hat, I contemplated the red crocheted heart on the rim and what it stands for. Love. Not the mushy Hallmark kind that equates to a dozen red roses and a nice dinner out that requires a reservation once a year on February 14th. Rather, the kind of love that lasts a lifetime…..
My mother had a tooth pulled last week. It was not an easy extraction. The tooth was crowned, the crown broke, and the remains of the decayed tooth underneath were barely salvageable. The dentist recommended pulling the tooth. My mother hesitantly agreed. Partway through the long procedure, feeling the intense pressure of several pieces of broken porcelain, she started to feel anxious. My dad, who was waiting patiently in the waiting room, received a call. She barely uttered, ‘Can you come back?’, from the misery of the dental chair.
My dad faithfully walked back to the exam room. He tenderly took his wife’s hand and stood at her side for the next several minutes of the pressurized procedure. My mom told me this sweet story yesterday. She did not tell me right after it happened (probably for fear I would write about it….I wonder what else she hasn’t told me?).
I believe, in the painful aftermath of the procedure, this small act of graceful care was not foremost on her mind. While she appreciated it at the time, it perhaps did not stand out as noteworthy because it is not out of character for my dad. He is loyal. He is kind. He is, simply put, there. For it all. The good times, and the not-so-good. Whether sitting in the waiting room, praying for his wife that he knows abhors the dentist more than most anything else on earth, or rushing to her side to take the hand of the woman whose hand he placed a golden band on nearly 52 years ago.
My parents’ marriage is one of the greatest blessings I have ever known. They taught me what it means to be steadfast. Persevere. Endure. And reap the blessings of a lifelong partnership that only comes from loving in a way this world does not exactly endorse, or even understand. I wish everyone could experience the type of love my parents have modeled for me. Heck, one divorce, one death, and one marital separation later (and I’m only 44!), I wish I could experience it…..
It does take more than romance, giddy feelings, butterflies, and rose-colored honeymoon-phase glasses. It takes commitment, a daily decision to put the needs of another over one’s own. It takes sacrifice and communication. It takes prayer….and the knowledge that when you are on your knees, begging God to change the heart of your stubborn and difficult spouse, it is very likely your own heart in need of a reset.
Love is not easy. But if a couple agrees to fully commit, and follow the biblical 1 Corinthians 13 example, true love really can last a lifetime. I am so thankful for the Christian examples of agape love I have witnessed in this life. They seem few and far between these days. However, growing up in a home that never spoke the dreaded ‘D’ word, because it simply was not an option, my faith, hope, and belief in love are strong because I know, I have seen, felt, and witnessed, the greatest of these…..LOVE.
1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Amannda (Manndi) Maphies works at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, is a mother to two human boys, two furry boys (dog – Atlas and cat – Hamilton), and enjoys freelance writing based on her travels, life adventures, and pretty much anything that stands out in life as ‘story-worthy’. Manndi contributes to several online and written publications, including: Ozarks Farm and Neighbor, Connections Magazine, Moms of Teens and Tweens, Her View from Home, Motherly,Motherwell, Salt + Sparrow, Daily Inspired Life with Karletta Marie, Focus on the Family, The Christian Standard, and has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Believing in Angels (January 2022). She had her first book published in September 2022, Tales From My Mummy, which can be found in local bookstores (SW Missouri) and Amazon.
Manndi’s greatest passion is being a boy mom to her two sons, William (13, going on 23) and Waylan (still sweet, boyish and recently turned 11). Her sons never fail to provide daily entertainment, which inspires many of her writings. She also loves to write about everything from being a single mom and dating after divorce to finding love later in life, the devastation of miscarriage, the loss of a loved one, and dealing with anxiety and mental health issues (specifically her personal journey with OCD). Her pieces are lovingly filled with inspiration, encouragement, and always a touch of humor.
“Live a life worthy of writing about”, is her daily motto and she strives to exemplify this daily.