“You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.” –Cheryl Strayed
There are warriors of love all around us—people who listen to the pulse of goodness, bigness, kindness and forgiveness inside of them and act on it. They live it out, touching the people close to them who, hopefully, in turn, pass the love on to others
1 Corinthians 13:2 reads: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” What a powerful reminder that no matter how many goals we achieve or riches we acquire, without love, we are truly poor.
Yes, we are called to love; to love our family, our neighbors, our enemies and even those we don’t know. Yet, it doesn’t have to always be expressed or observed in grand, romantic gestures to be powerful. For example, is there a story of love you can think of that is more powerful or pure than a mother and her child locking eyes for the first time? Or a daughter helping her elderly parents navigate comfortably through old age?
Examples of people living out a life of love are the stories that need to be told, celebrated and shared. Whether big or small, acts of love can change the world.
In this three-part series, we’re rounding up different real-life examples of powerful love out in the world. Here are 5 to get us started:
1. The Gym Teacher Who Ignited a Crowd With Love
It was a sunny day at Colonial Hills Elementary School. The perfect day for a race. And Matt Woodrum, who suffers from cerebral palsy, wanted to run with the rest of his classmates. At first, he set a steady pace for his laps around the track, but quickly began to struggle and fall behind his classmates.
That’s when John Blaine, his gym teacher, jogged up beside him to offer some encouragement. And what happened next is a powerful example of the way love spreads like wildfire. Pretty soon, the whole class was running alongside Matt, cheering him on until he crossed the finish line.
Yes, we are called to love; to love our family, our neighbors, our enemies and even those we don’t know.
Watch the video below, but be sure to grab a tissue box first.
2. The Woman Who Fought for a Baby's Life with Love
This woman discovered a tiny baby buried in the dirt during an evening hike in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Mountains on May 16, 1998. “I was going to run 20 minutes and suddenly I felt like I was going to be sick, like someone was choking me or throwing up, and I think it was exactly 10 to 15 minutes before that they were [burying Matthew Christian],” Milanian recalled.
She decided to turn back and go to her car when her dogs alerted her to something in the bushes. When she suddenly saw baby feet emerging from the dirt, she frantically began digging the infant out of the ground.
“I didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl and he was crying and I brought him out and I dug my nails in his nose and mouth and started taking the dirt out and all I said to you was, ‘Please don’t die. I will never leave you. I love you,’” Milanian recalled through tears.
The now 20-year-old Matthew Christian Whitaker finally met Milanian exactly two decades after she saved his life.
3. The Rescue Team Who Showed Love to All Creatures, Great and Small
On June 3rd, the Evergreen Fire Rescue responded to the “dog in distress” call. A Great Pyrenees named Kato and his humans went for a hike on the Maxwell Falls trail near Evergreen, Colorado. But about a mile from the trailhead, poor Kato got too tired to go on. After trying unsuccessfully to revive him enough to walk back, Kato’s owners had to call for backup—they just couldn’t lift the 120-pound dog to carry him back down alone.
Enter: the Evergreen Fire Rescue team
You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.
The rescue team responded immediately and, using a stretcher, carried Kato back down the trail just like they would do for a human patient. We have to say, Kato looks pretty comfortable on that stretcher thanks to his loving rescuers!
4. The Power of a Mother's Love
“Mother’s love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. If it is there, it is like a blessing; if it is not there it is as if all the beauty had gone out of life.” —Erich Fromm
Just by looking at her, new mother Claire Reid’s love for her daughter is obvious. And she got quite the surprise one day as she sat doting over her, whispering little words of love. As they stared lovingly into each other’s eyes, Reid says, “I love you” to her daughter. What happens next is extraordinary. Listen closely!
5. A Love That Triumphed Over Evil
Max and Hanne Liebmann were both in a concentration camp during the Holocaust, and it was there that the two first met. Together, they found ways to survive until the end of the war.
“There was a barrack at the end of the camp that was run by a Swiss nurse who gave us a little supplement of food every day and we’d walk there together,” Max said.
Despite being separated after the war, they reunited in Switzerland and married in Geneva in 1945 years later. They have now been married for 73 years. Watch the video below to hear about the ways their love triumphed against the evil surrounding them.