They say "family is the school of love." I've often wondered what that means, exactly, and have thought I could explain it in a few words when necessary. Having just had our 5th, with all of the beauty, blessings, demands, and struggles a large family brings with it, it makes me reflect anew on what I am seeing and understanding about our family and how, exactly, it is a school of love.
Each time our family grows, it evolves, it changes, and I am given more glimpses into what love Is.
I no longer think I can put it into a trite statement, although the Gospel
puts it best, to no surprise- love is to give of ones life for a friend. But so much is packed into that word life, it
takes a lifetime to unpack.
I will share a moment of love I had the luck of witnessing this morning between my 1 and 6 year old. He ( 6 year old) was watching tv ( after 10 years we finally got one again) and she ( 1 year old) was tinkering next to him. She pulled his pj shirt down over his belly. He didn't notice/care. She pulled it back up and gave him raspberries. This, of course, caught his attention and they had a happy moment together with smiles and an exchange. It was but a few minutes when was over. It was simple. But it was perfection.
Love my one year old feeling so free to interact with another, even touching him, without giving it a thought, but knowing she could, because in some sense, he belongs to her, and with him, she in her entirety is safe. Love is my six year old not caring if his toddler sister stops by to engage him, even when he is preoccupied with something else. It is appreciating the gift that comes with a mutual affection. And all of this is the most natural thing in the world, that its not even given a thought.
Natural, too, is the fighting over the bag of chips that quickly followed. Because only with your sibling can you feel so free as to express your emotions, because underlying it all, again without consciousness of it, this person is with you on this journey, and it is taken as an expected truth ( and in time needs to be learned not to be taken for granted).
There is so much to the family being a school of love. Today I got to peek through a window in the schoolhouse... And my love for order and conclusion would love to categorize it and say I know what it is I am providing each day and moment, along with my husband and children, who, after all, have their own part to contribute. But love is not exact, nor ever complete. Because love is infinite, and I have a lifetime to discover more of and bask in its radiance.