Who doesn’t enjoy a good love story? In honor of St. Valentine I’d like to share a story about love —natural, instinctive, humble love.
One Saturday morning as I was huffin’ and puffin’ through a workout at the rec. center, I noticed a man in his 50s helping another man, who appeared to be in his 80s, maneuver through the maze of cardio machines. They settled at the stationary bikes.
The duo was clearly father and son: same build, same facial features, even the same hair—except one was starting to gray, while the other was completely white. One appeared healthy and fit, while the other was stooped and shuffled as he made his way across the room.
When they reached the bikes the younger man gently helped his father get positioned, and sent him off at a nice easy pace. He then sat on the bike next to him and the two pedaled side-by-side. I was struck by the care, attentiveness and respect apparent between the two. I’m guessing this is a love affair that began the day the son was born.
Perhaps this love story could be more accurately described as a storge story.
In his book “The Four Loves” author C.S. Lewis explained that even though we only have one word for love in the English language, it takes on many different forms. Storge (in Greek), or affection as Lewis calls it, is described as the fondness through familiarity, especially between family members.
It’s the most common, the most instinctive, and the most humble love because it exists between parents and children. It “turns a blind eye to faults…and is kind and forgives.” Thank God for this steadfast love that’s shown to us not only when we’re perfectly lovable, but also when we’re not-as-easy to love.
It’s the accommodating love that a grown child extends to an aging parent when Mom or Dad can’t get around like they used to; an understanding love that allows parents to simply smile and nod at their teenager who thinks she knows it all; and a patient and nurturing love deep in the heart of a mother as she and her son make their way through his Terrible Twos.
Lewis said this comfortable quiet love “…opens our eyes to goodness we could not have seen...without it.” I think most parents would agree our children open our eyes to a love we’ve never known before—a natural, instinctive, humble love that is possible because of God’s fatherly love for us.
Enjoy St. Valentine’s Day with your loved ones!