when you’re figuring out how to really love

When the Farmer comes in after 11 from the field, he carries it in on his grimy shirt, a few pounds of dirt, and I wonder if he feels it, the weight of the gritty world on his shoulders.

He finds me in a straight back chair at the window in lamp light. There are pages on my lap. He has no words.

Before I can find mine, say anything, he kneels on the floor, takes my feet in his hands.


Silently he kneads in these slow circles across the bottom of my foot, pressing away the day with his hand, pressing back what hurts with his earth-lined field hands.

I want to ask him about wheat and moisture and straw, about the corn in the bin and weather forecasts and if there’s rain coming across the lakes.

I want to confess sins — that I yelled at a kid this morning and it doesn’t matter now what for. That a son needed a ride into town and I sighed too loud and said not today. That I didn’t read aloud tonight and a little girl went to bed sad.  I know he can feel it, without need of words, my regrets knotted right deep into me. His grace is tender, loosening… freeing.

I want to look him in the eye and say what I’m finding, all these days, in this slow circuitous way:

Everyone is always saying only one thing: I just want you to love me.

But I get caught up in tone and semantics, when I could just catch hearts.

I watch how he holds mine. His thumb massages around, around, across the ball of my foot, and it’s always about that — feeling behind the words for the message.

I say nothing. He says nothing.

We sit in a dark house, in the ring of one light, my foot cupped in his hands.  How can the unlovable bear to be loved?

He looks up, smiles. I close my eyes, hardly bearing.

What if love does that, bears all things — stego in the Greek — literally a thatch roof, taking the rain and the wind and all that comes beating — absorbing all that would damage.

Love bears all things. Love willingly carries one another’s burdens. How does a mother bear her child’s burden? A wife, her husband’s burden?

In the downpour of hormones and teenage years and uncertainty — how does mother love bear the weight of the storm, house the child in warmth?

In the drench of learning struggles and bedtime angst and childhood fears — how does mother love bear a child’s burden, listen and learn and look for ways to protect from the rain?

In the hurricane of his working world — how does a wife love her husband like a covering, saturated with  the deluge, heavy with prayers?

They just need me to love them.

Love bares nothing and love bears all things — and love carries burdens that sets us all free.


How do you enfold your heart around another like a roof? This is love.

I long to let them all in. Why not let them all in?

I brave looking down at him. He’s still looking up.

Large hands cupping heels, he’s massaging slow and around, protecting, pressing it all back, a safe shelter in hands.

“You must be so tired.” I hardly whisper it, not wanting to be more of a burden for him, wanting to draw my feet away — not wanting to withdraw from him.

“No…” He smiles… “Not tired… not now.”

The moment of the bearing another like that —





Bear one another’s burdens … … Gal. 6:2

Love bears all things …  … 1 Cor. 13:7





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