If love were a person, what would it look like?
I’ve wondered this often over the last 18 months as I’ve traveled to different Buckner senior living communities and listened to countless residents’ heartwarming (often tear-jerking) stories of celebration, trial and triumph.
To them, these are just everyday stories, natural outcomes of a life spent serving. But to me, they are life changing. These residents have made me re-evaluate my own rose-colored version of what love really looks like.
We say we know what love is, and often throw the word around like confetti, but do we know what it looks like? Could we paint it on a canvas or spot it in a crowd?
If I thought I could before, then I was wrong. These residents have forever changed the way I see love.
Now, love looks like the wife who every day walks across the parking lot from her independent living apartment to have lunch and spend the afternoon with her husband in memory care.
It looks like the widower who still keeps his wife’s photo prominently displayed and beams with pride when he talks about her, as if they just married yesterday.
It looks like the daughter who visits her mom in long-term nursing every Thursday to play the piano and lead other residents in worship.
It looks like faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 teaches us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
These senior adults—many I’d now count as friends—have walked or are currently walking through seasons they neither wanted nor expected. Burying a spouse of more than 60 years. Caring for a paralyzed child. Losing a home to a hurricane.
And still, they love with the kind of love the author of Lamentations says God shows us: steadfast, faithful, unending.
These residents have taught me that while God doesn’t promise to show us exactly what we’ll walk through, he does promise to be faithful. And because he is faithful, we can be faithful in the way we choose to serve others too. That is what love looks like.