Tough Love

Love is tough. I don’t always know what to say to others, but I sure do see love everywhere I look. For instance, my girlfriend’s son recently moved 1,000 miles and many States away. She is heartbroken, but she loves him and wants him to be happy. She is tough.

My other girlfriend travels over 80 miles each day to fight alongside the team of doctors, nurses, physical therapies, respiratory therapists and others to save her husbands life as he struggles to recover from a recent surgery. She is tired but sees the little improvements each day and continues to hope in the recovery of the one she has loved for many years.

Another girlfriend is helping her daughter with her addiction struggles and recent legal concerns. She has spent thousands of dollars for legal help and is working overtime to pay for the debts incurred. She drives her places to show her she is not alone in her struggle. They spend time doing crafts like making wreaths of autumn pine cones, laughing, having coffee, and sharing time together. She wants her daughter to know she is loved. She shared with me that she told her daughter her commitment to her began with her first breath and will end with my friend’s last breath.  Tough love.

My other friend visits a man in a wheelchair every day to share lonely and long hours with him. They talk about sky diving experiences they both shared as well as other things ‘guys’ talk about. An expression of love day after day when he could be doing other things.

I see love when folks move family members into their homes that have no where else to go. Sharing a life and living arrangements can be difficult – sometimes we consider this an invasion of privacy and life, but tough love does what is necessary. My Grandfather taught me that you take care of the ones you love. Love is grocery shopping, cooking, doing wash, and all the other acts of love that go unnoticed in a usual day for others that need a hand. Sometimes it is more difficult with more in a home and sometimes the ones in the home have medical concerns. Tough love keeps plugging along.

Love is sharing a meal with a homeless person.  Taking time to be friends with the friendless people. It is not just a 5 minute event to share someone’s life and help when needed.

I often hear others say- give them ‘tough love.’ Usually they mean let them figure it all out by themselves- let them alone in the struggle. Sometimes that helps folks get to the end of their ropes. I cannot go to the beach when the ones I love need help and love.  I just can’t.

The toughest love I have experienced is saying good- bye. When it comes time for someone we love to go Home, it can be the hardest thing we ever do, but that is loving them too. I watched my brother in pain and unable to breathe and finally watched him go Home to be in Paradise with the God I love. I feel weak at times, but I know love is tough and will get me through.

I’ll bet you know people who love when it isn’t easy. When they are the only people that that struggling person has to help – make a meal, provide a home, share time. We are in this together. We are not alone.

1 Corinthians 13 tells me Love is… kind.. love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things… love never fails. Even if I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but do not have love, everything else I do amounts to nothing. Of love, hope and faith, the greatest is love.

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