The sound of love
It’s quickly become my favorite time of day. It’s when the beautiful weightiness of gratitude sinks in, when I’m feeling worn and spent and full, when I give thanks to God for the ups and downs and joy and heartache of the day, looking to tomorrow with growing hope. It’s the last few minutes before I slip into sleep, when I settle in bed in my childhood home and remember the waning countdown. One less day until I move to the convent.
These hidden days at home are precious. They’re slow and long, laced with prayer and errands, meals at the table and movies in the basement, trips to the pool and conversations on the back porch. For weeks now, finishing up my season of life in Philly and visiting a dear friend in Seattle and savoring family time at home, my life has been marked with such profound significance. It’s been professions of love and admiration and support from countless friends, poignant lasts and tearful goodbyes, trips down memory lane to deeply appreciate just how on earth I’ve arrived here. And there’s something profound about ending this time, this wrapping up of life in the world as I’ve known it, in the home where I was first known and loved and where I began to learn who I am. It’s a gift I will forever treasure.
It’s not just the end of day gratitude—there’s another reason it’s my favorite time of day, these last moments before the rest I crave. For many nights in a row, I’ve gone to bed before my mom. My bedroom shares a wall with the kitchen, and I’ve been falling asleep to the sound of her cleaning up. The running water, scrub of plates, wheeling of the dishwasher racks, stacking of dripping wet pots and pans. She’s likely more tired than I, yet still she stands there at the sink, illuminated by a soft light overhead, wiping and washing and setting to rights. It’s not a particularly grand gesture, no, but it speaks volumes about her love. It’s an act of service unseen, unrecognized, unappreciated, at least by me. But she doesn’t do it to be seen or recognized or appreciated. She does it to love.
These nighttime sounds in the kitchen have opened up for me a new dimension by which I can understand the nature of love. So often throughout these weeks I’ve experienced such concrete, visible, grand signs of others’ love for me, and it’s been wholly overwhelming and humbling, a true blessing. And having sought out and noticed the little, quiet, unassuming gestures, too, has added such depth to my gratitude. I fear we so easily undervalue the seemingly mundane stuff of life. The cleaning of a kitchen, the smile at a stranger, the quick conversation with the little neighbor girl next door. But if Jesus, God Himself, came to earth? If He walked around with dust on His feet, sweating under the noonday sun, sharing meals with his parents around the table after a long day of hard work? This mundane stuff of life is holy. These sounds of sponges scrubbing are holy. These errands and laps and hours on the couch or around the table are good and beautiful gestures of love, extensions of our hearts which are always longing to be welcomed and received and cherished. The grand gestures are wonderful. But the hallowed hiddenness of deep, abiding love has an astounding significance that I will never forget.
Wherever you are, whatever season of life, whatever crosses you carry or heartbreak you mourn, look around, carefully, for love. I bet you just might hear it.