A school backpack was left outdoors overnight in the pouring rain. The one to whom it belonged had given up his spot in the truck for a brother and assumed that one of the brothers would think to bring in his bag from the pick-up, but now it’s go-time on a school morning and tempers are swelling like the school books with soaked pages. I hear the din of accusations, questions, and blame-shifting as I rush to conceal my dark under-eye circles with powder and brush. What is needed in this volatile situation is love, understanding, forgiveness, gentleness, mercy . . . but we’ve got 5 minutes to get out the door and no time for lectures or teaching moments. I walk into the living room expecting to break up a fight, but I find a problem solved and brothers at peace.
It’s St. Valentine’s Day, and the world around us is adorned in hearts, roses, and chocolates. Every shop uses “LOVE” to sell its wares. What does love mean anyway? It’s obvious we all want it, crave it, need it! Where can we find it? Where can we learn it? Where can we meet Love? At home. The family is a school of love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous . . . not quick-tempered” (1 Cor 13:4-5). So, if my family is supposed to be a school of love, and this is supposed to be the test, I’m afraid I might flunk out . . . and take my poor kids with me. Yet, in a rain-drenched backpack, I find a glimmer of hope, not that we are perfect, but that we are learning. Just like arithmetic requires constant repetition and practice, so too does patience, kindness, and forgiveness. Our home provides countless occasions for self-restraint, sacrifice, and mercy. From morning to night, we are teaching one another what love looks like, and even our moments of embarrassing failure can be sanctifying when we say, “I’m sorry”—yet another valuable lesson.
Nothing on earth better mirrors the absolute, faithful, life-giving love of God than an open-to-life marriage. God created each of our children from love, for love; and though none of us mothers loves perfectly, we are introducing our sons and daughters to him who is perfect love. God is love. He loves us. He loves through us. So, to all you mighty moms out there, let’s celebrate love today! Let’s celebrate the self-giving love that created us, redeemed us, and placed us in a school of love where he continues to shape us into his image and likeness.
St. Valentine, pray for us.