I saw one of the most romantic things I think I've ever seen last night. Josiah and I went with Grandma Sandy to a stroke recovery meeting--for Uncle Ed. As we settled into the huge hospital lobby chairs and watched folks arrive, in came a young couple. The husband had a few grew hairs, but the wife looked younger than forty--strapped into a wheelchair, struggling to hold her head up. As the meeting progressed, she shared her story, speaking with difficulty. She'd had her stroke at the age of thirty-two, six years ago, and she was excited to finally be able to control her own wheelchair button--with difficulty. She was dressed carefully, neatly and stylishly. Her hair was done to perfection, her make-up carefully applied, her jewelry tidy and trendy. Several times during the meeting, her husband gently removed her glasses and applied eye-drops to her eyes, unobtrusively. He was a quiet man, saying very little, yet his wife's appearance spoke volumes. Six years ago she suffered a massive stroke, leaving her completely incapacitated to take care of herself, much less her little son. It might have seemed like a good time to put her in an assisted living and move on with his life, but this husband has stuck by her, faithfully for six years. Not just helped her get by, but been careful to help her feel beautiful, valued and womanly. That's a pretty devoted husband. To me, this "for better or for worse" love is the most romantic thing I can imagine. Why? Because it's for real. Gushy romance and emotion? Kids can play at that, but it takes real men and women to love for six years of helplessness.
My mind turns to Jesus, by whom we know what love is: He laid down His life for us. He didn't come to be served, but to serve. While we were still helpless, Christ died for us. Friends insist I'm not romantic because I turn away when the movie heroes kiss or I'm embarrassed when twitterpated couples goo-goo at each other and I roll my eyes at Valentine's Day. But tell me again the tale of the lost sinner, purchased by the King of the Universe and I'll weep and clasp my hands like a love-sick school-girl. Real romance moves me.