What is love? We talk about love. We sing about love. We say love lasts forever and we profess undying love to each other. But… what is love really? Here, let me show you.
This past summer, my daughter turned 16. It was a big milestone and she wanted a special party. And since she loves those BBC shows like Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey, she asked her mom to put on a fancy, English-style tea party. “It has to be authentic, dad!” English scones and lemon curd. So they shopped for tiny knives, and beautiful white flowers, and those tiny little tea cups. “Yes, you have to hold them with 2 fingers – stick your pinky out!” Everything was going to be lovely.
There’s just one thing left – the cake! But, not just any ‘ole cake. It had to be fit for royalty – a three tiered cake! But who knows how to make a 3-tier cake? Not my wife, that’s for sure. Course, she could’ve bought a cake like that – but she wanted to put her love into it. So, she spent days learning about it. (I always wondered how they kept the layers from sliding… now I know.) Finally, mom felt ready, so she did a test run. She made an entire 3-tiered cake just for practice (nom-noms for me!). She did all that preparation so that when the big day finally came, everything was lovely, especially the gorgeous cake!
And that’s what love is. It’s not the gifts, or the fancy party, or even the words, ‘I love you.’ It was the hours and days they spent together, designing and planning, shopping and baking. It was the things they did – it was the heart they put into it.
Now, that party was a lot of work. In fact, it was probably too much work – more effort than is reasonable for a single birthday party. But, there’s more to this story.
We have to go back 16 years, to the day my daughter was born. A day forever etched in my mind. When my daughter’s head crowned, the doctor got this strange look on his face – he was concerned. The nurse dashed out of the room, but soon returned with a mob of specialists and equipment. They performed some heroic measures and they saved our daughter’s life. But later, we met with the doctor and he gave us the worst news of all. My daughter wouldn’t live to see 6 months.
But, of course, you already know he was wrong! My kind, loving, and gentle daughter defied the odds – she fought her way to 6 months, and then to 6 years, and now she’s turning 16! And that’s why this party was so important, so very special to us. That’s why we put so much heart and soul into it. And that’s how I know that love isn’t just something we feel. It’s all the things we do and how we do them. We love our daughter. Love is a verb.