So my day has really been lousy today, but there were three very striking examples of love mixed in to the pain and sorrow of a day that I’d like to forget.

But first the bad news, My 82 year old father tried to adjust a curtain rod by standing on a chair. The chair slipped out from under him and he fell. The results a fractured hip and wrist with surgery to follow most likely tomorrow.

Now that’s no fun. I’m far away from my parents but will travel there next week, but being this far away is never comforting when they fall ill or an accident happens.

As many readers know, my mother is not in good health and my father is her primary care giver. So when my father fell, my mother had to try to help him up–with a bad back and legs. She went and got the wheelchair that she used primarily and got him into the chair somehow. (I know, first aid experts, never move an injured person). There was 15 inches of snow falling and let’s just say that paramedics weren’t all that quick to respond. When I talked with my mom, she replied through many tears, “I had to get him out of there. He was in pain because of the position he fell in. He would’ve done the same for me.”

And he has. My dad has stood by my mom through a lot of illness, which just isn’t a whole lot of fun. But he wouldn’t think about doing anything else. He has loved her and she, him–for over 60 years now. And his first words to her in the hospital over the phone was: “I’ll feel a lot better when I can see you again.”

Now that’s love. The guy’s got a broken hip and wrist but all he wants is to see his wife. Dude’s got it bad. And you’ve just got to love that.

My second example is my own wife, who has filled my day with supportive messages and even sent a quick email today:

Bun (her pet name for me), I’m so sorry for your Dad. I will say a prayer for him to get his spirits up.
Love, me

She’s planning to take care of the dog next week while I travel to tend to my parents and sister for a day. Something I asked her to do because I don’t want Haze the Dog to get stressed, which happens when we’re both away. Her patience and support is always unwavering. And that’s love.

And lastly, I was sitting in my office, generally feeling sad about the whole situation. Distance has made this a bit worse for me and the flood of feeling helpless was washing over me. As the tears of feeling overwhelmed came in walked an 85 lb. fur ball named Ripley, Fr. Jack’s old english sheepdog. She’s one of two parish mascots, Quigley, being the other, but Ripley and I have a much stronger bond. (Full disclosure: Ripley’s never met a man she didn’t like)

Well Ripley pranced in and nuzzled right up to my lap and whimpered. I swear she said: “Yeah, I know.” And I nuzzled that dog right back. She licked my face and I buried my face in her warm white coat and she would have none of that. She shook me a bit and began to lick my face. I began to laugh as she wouldn’t quit and she lifted me right out of the doldrums. I sat on the floor and just hugged that dog, a senior now, herself and we just sat together for a long time. She knew just what I needed. And I’m sure when I get home, my dog, Haze, about 70 pounds lighter will do the same. Now that’s love too.

So today, as I ask prayers for my dad’s recovery (his spirits are up and he generally seems to be OK), think about the love that gets shared with you from those who support you in rough times…

And be grateful…all is grace…all from God…feel gratitude.

Now THAT’S love. Amen.