On one of the first warm spring days last year a group of us were enjoying lunch on the lawn at a friend’s home. I sat chatting with another guest – a man well into his 80s on holiday in Perth with his wife.
The man had been telling me about an airplane he had built and he was fishing around in his wallet for a photograph of the plane. He came across another photo before he found the one of the airplane that he was actually looking for. He passed the accidently discovered photo over to me saying, “Ah, that’s my girl.”
It was a photo of his wife who was sitting a little away from us talking with our hosts. As I looked down at the photo he’d passed me, I expected to see an old snapshot of his wife – you know the sort I mean. A picture of his now elderly wife from when they first met – a picture of what she looked like when she was a young bride.
But the photograph was obviously very recent. The woman smiling from the photo looked just like the woman sitting across from me laughing and talking – and I was both surprised and moved.
“That’s my girl” the well on his way to 90-year-old man had said of his wife of similar age! His words were filled with love and pride and contentment and these things – love, pride, contentment – were all clearly for the woman in the photo – his wife – not as she once was but as she is now.
It struck me that this simple declaration over a very recent photo was a beautiful picture of genuine love.
Love that wasn’t glamourized, idealised or sensationalised. Love that wasn’t wishing things were different.
Real – ‘this is how it is’ love; safe, familiar ‘I see who you really are love’ and it reminded me of God’s love which is described by one of the bible writers, John, as real love – love for us just as we are.
Do you know what it is like to be loved like that?
Who in your world needs you to love them like this? It’s always a good time to start to love someone well.