Love is a many splendid thing... love lifts us up where we belong... all you need is love...
Why yes, I can sing that whole song all by myself, thank you! Sometimes HH sings with me and we do a lovely duet. We have all kinds of crazy fun like that around here.
In honor of it being The Day After Valentine's Day, I thought we should discuss love this week. Love and joy certainly go hand in hand. In fact, if you type in the address for this blog incorrectly, you're likely to come up with something for the movie "Love's Abiding Joy". I haven't seen it, but I hear it's a good one.
I, for one, cannot imagine finding joy in anything without love. When I think back to the times in my life when something wonderful has happened I notice a pattern: When I was with people I love and who love me, the joy from the wonderful circumstances was multiplied; when I was alone, the joy was diminished. There's something about knowing that someone who loves you finds joy in you finding joy that makes it all the more joyful. Did that make sense? It's also true in the reciprocal. When you truly love someone, you are blessed to experience joy right along with them when they find joy.
For example, I don't really think about the awesomeness of my hands. Ever. But when Sweet P discovered her hands for the first time, she thought they were fantastic. As I watched her delight in these cool things attached to her body, I couldn't help but smile and laugh right along with her.
But I think the greatest joy love has to offer is in our demonstration of it. I'm not as good about it as once was, but I used to always leave little love notes and cards for HH to find. I know he enjoyed getting them, but I had so much fun writing them and contemplating how nice it would be for him when he discovered them. When I go out of my way to provide a new activity or outing for my kiddos, it's so much more fun because I'm doing it out of the love I have for them. I love to cook and a big part of that is because I'm cooking for my family and I want them to feel my love for them in the food I provide. You know when you find the perfect gift for someone you love and then you can hardly wait to give it to them? It's not because they'll think you're totally awesome for getting it, it's because you love them and that just makes it fun!
I would like to close with a quote from President Thomas S. Monson, prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
"Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.”3 We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.
"Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”"
And that would be my challenge to you as well. Find ways to express your love every day and I promise you'll find more joy.
As a little side note, if you haven't read The Five Languages of Love, I highly recommend it. It had never occurred to me that HH expressed and felt love through different actions then I do. But he does. And now it's so much easier for me to show him I love him in the way that means the most to him. Getting little loves notes is something I love. HH appreciates them, but he would greatly prefer a neck massage or a hug. Basically, this book can help you use your love-giving-energy more efficiently. And it's not just for spouses. I found it helpful with other people I feel close to as well.
How do you show your love to those around you? How do you like love to be shown to you? What is it about love that provides so much joy? How do you find time to demonstrate your love to the important people in your life? Any ideas for showing love to people that don't live near you? Do you love me? Just kidding! Of course you do!