My four-year-old son wore the same pair of green frog rain boots every day for over a year. He wore them in the rain, of course, but he also wore them in blizzards and on hot July days. He wore them when he went to school and the grocery store and the swimming pool. He wore them when he played soccer or rode his bike or dressed up as a superhero. He wore them everywhere.
After a while the boots started breaking down. It began with a few cracks and then some rips which created little flaps that fluttered in the air as he ran. Every once in a while I’d come across a new piece that had fallen off—in the house, the car, his bed. I was waiting for the day the boots dismantled mid-stride into a crumbled heap on the ground. Until then, I knew that if I couldn’t find him, I just needed to follow the green rubber trail.
The boots received endless commentary wherever we went. Most people laughed. Some were confused. A few even offered to buy him a new pair. But I explained this was a love affair that no one could ever break up.
He chose those battered boots, over and over again, and over all other shoes. I bought him new flip-flops and new sneakers, but he always chose the boots. Even when they deteriorated to a point that when it actually rained, they remained wet, he still chose the boots. Especially on rainy days. He chose them because although he liked other shoes, he loved the boots.
And by loving those boots, he reminded me about what it really means to love.
To love means to make a choice, the same choice, over and over again. It’s a knowing choice, a thoughtful choice, a deliberate choice.
It may not always be a logical or practical or comfortable choice. In fact, it often isn’t.
But love doesn’t care so much about those details. Love doesn’t bother with logic and practicality and comfort. Love doesn’t worry about disgrace or damage. Love turns a blind eye to other options, including the sparkly new ones. Love hangs on in a breakdown. And in a storm.
When we love, we don’t see the cracks or the rips. Because love clings to the tried and true. And all of those cracks and rips come with the trying. But it is only by trying that we get to the true. And once we get to the true, we keep coming back, to make the same choice one more time, over and over again.
When we love, we have found something that is indispensable…to our hearts, to our lives, to our stories. We have found our true.
There’s a lot to love about a little boy and his green frog rain boots.
There’s a lot to learn about love as well.