Shiny Shoes and Real Love

By Fr. Mike Boutin

Love is patient... love is kind... Faith, hope, and love endure. But the greatest of these is love.  (1 Corinthians 13)

Listen to Stacie Orrico singing "Without Love" courtesy, of course, of YouTube. 

I was captivated by a story in the Chicago Tribune this week: an elderly woman got stuck in an airport.

Not exactly newsworthy in these days of airline cutbacks and more stringent security measures. But this story was noteworthy. Elsie Clark was in a wheelchair because of bad hips.  She was flying home to Winnipeg and missed her flight. She got re-routed through Chicago, and began to panic about missing her connection and getting stranded in the Windy City.  She struck up a conversation with Dean Germeyer, commenting on his "shiny shoes." 

Germeyer's heart was touched by this elderly woman. When they landed in Chicago, he raced her over to the gate, but it was too late.  Though the airlines made provisions for Elsie to stay in a Chicago hotel overnight, Dean needed to do more. He called his wife, set another spot for dinner, gave Elsie a nighttime tour of Chicago, and made sure that she got settled into her hotel and got a good night's sleep before making sure that she got on her connecting flight home the next morning.  All for a complete stranger... and just because his shoes were well polished!

Love is patient and kind... it harbors no resentments... it does not delight in wrongdoing...
Love is not starry Hallmark cards, or expensive weekends in the country, or dozens of red roses...
Love is not diamonds the size of quarters or Platinum weddings....
Love is not long letters speaking of "counting the ways" or hearts drawn on the beach in the sand...

Instead, the love that endures beyond the grave is love in action.  Love isn't just a word, but instead, love is a deed done to the stranger, to the poor, and especially to the ones God puts in each of our lives to reveal God's face to us and to remind us of the depth of God's love.  Love is, in myriad ways, revealing the boundless love and mercy of God to another, so that through our lives, and the lives of those who love us, the world begins to see the face of the source of all LOVE...

And sometimes, in a place far away from home, love can be just a pair of shiny shoes...

Now pray...

 

Father Mike Boutin is the co-pastor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Walpole, MA, and travels widely, leading pilgrimages throughout the world to various Catholic religious sites. He is a frequent speaker on liturgy, music, spirituality, and pastoral ministry.