I believe in true love. I believe in the kind of love that poets pour their souls onto paper about, the kind of love that young girls dream of for as long as they can remember. Not a quick fleeting fancy of the heart, but the deep caring and understanding of that one special person that neither the troubles of the world nor the passage of years can ever break. The speaking of “I do’s” and the buying of rings, without a bond between souls, is simply a material expression of what our culture has come to believe love is. True love is not measured in carats, or flowers, or dollars spent on the ceremony, it is measured by how much two people care about one another until the day they die. I was lucky enough to hear about a couple here in my neighborhood that understood what real, true love is. They were an elderly couple, perhaps in their eighties, taking joy in a simple outing to the park. They didn’t need to spend extravagantly to enjoy their day, they simply needed each other. The two drove up in an ordinary van and out stepped the man in ordinary clothes. But this couple was anything but ordinary. He walked around to help his wife out of the car, and he gently, reverently, helped her sit down in her wheelchair like a queen and placed a sunhat on her head like a crown. As they slowly strolled along the path , he would stop every few steps and bend down close to her. He whispered quietly into her ear, and her face would fill with joy. Her smile spread across her face and showed the wrinkles at the corners of her eyes; deep ruts carved by the passage of joy over many happy years together. They continued on this way, walking and stopping, whispering and laughing, but most of all loving one another until they reached the end of the path and came to their ordinary car once again. He gently lifted off her hat, helped her out of her wheelchair, and gently helped her back into the car. There was no sorrow in their faces when their outing came to an end, because their life together was a constant joy. I never heard of them nor saw them again, but they made me realize something very important. Love is not reserved for the youth, love does not require money or a huge dramatic plot, love does not age, and most of all, that love is true.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.