Thursday, February 14, 2013

What is love?

Valentine's Day is here again and my kids at school are so excited they can hardly stay in their own skins. Today there are cupcakes and heart shaped cookies and fruit skewers and more candy than any one child needs in every classroom in every school across the nation. School nurses, like me, hold their breath and pray that the parents read the labels of food they sent in to share and that the children with food allergies can get safely through the day with out a severe allergic reaction.  Florists have been in and out of the school   delivering beautiful bouquets of flowers  to faculty and staff. Pink and red are the colors of the day. Love is everywhere!

Several years ago I wrote a post about love and shared it here.  I am choosing to repeat that post again today because the message is worth repeating.  Here it is:

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1Corinthians 13)

He was 16 and she was 15 when they met that July and yet something deep inside her told her this boy was different, special, worth getting to know.  She didn't have a lot of time to get to know him because he was getting ready to go to Sweden as a Rotary International exchange student for the year and yet they had enough time.  They wrote letters back and forth once, sometimes twice a week, and he called her on Christmas Day, something that had to be prearranged in those days.  They talked for just a few minutes yet it was enough.  He returned home at the end of his school year abroad and they spent the summer together and the next year until he graduated from high school and immediately headed off to college.  They continued to date and when he was home you rarely saw one without the other.  She had a moment of doubt her freshman year in college and broke off their relationship despite the fact they had already picked out an engagement ring.  Her mother was furious with her.  He was brokenhearted.  He returned the ring.  She dated other boys often calling them by "his" name.  By Christmas she realized her mistake and called him hoping to re-establish a relationship, begging for forgiveness; he was dating someone else but they talked and before long they were together again.  They married, had 2 children (a girl and a boy) and have battled the ups and downs that come with any relationship; the good times outweighing the difficult ones.  It is now 42 years since they met.  They have been married 37 years.  She has been with him for more than 70 percent of her life and yet she still loves him with her heart and soul.  Today is Valentine's Day and the card she gave him could not begin to express the depth of her love for him and so she is sharing this on her blog but writing it for him.  

To my loving husband, Jay, who I love more than words can ever express.  Thank you for sharing your love and your life with me.  You continue to show me what love is in everything you do.  I am blessed to have found you but know without a shadow of a doubt that God arranged our meeting at that church paper drive 42 years ago.

Here are some profound answers from children when asked; "What does love mean?"

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'
Billy - age 4

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.  So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'
Rebecca- age 8

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.' 
Terri - age 4

Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.'
Bobby - age 7

My favorite is a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry'   

Happy Valentine's Day!  May you be loved by someone who is so caring they will help you cry!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

There you are!

Have you ever watched the movie Hook?  I have and I have to admit it is one of my favorites.  It doesn't hurt that Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman are cast as Peter Pan and Captain Hook and Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell.  Exceptional artists playing exceptional characters!  You may be wondering why I am talking about a movie, especially the movie, Hook.  Well the truth is a line from that movie just popped into my head over the weekend and I can't get it out of my head.  The line is simple enough and was spoken by one of the lost boys after looking very closely at Peter Pan's face trying to determine if he really was Peter Pan.  Finally, he gazed deeply into Peter Pan's eyes and said, "There you are Peter!"  Here is a short video clip from the movie so you can see and hear those words in context:

Why is, "There you are Peter!" hanging around in my brain, popping up again and again whispering softly to me, annoying me?  Saturday evening I realized why and it came from a most unusual place, another blogger.  My daughter sent me a link to a blog she thought I would enjoy reading but she also pointed out the current post was one she was certain I would like.  So I clicked on the link to Mrs.Thor and read the story of an amazing woman, Amy, who shared that she had now lost 100 pounds.  Amy said, "I'm still afraid to write about it, still afraid to talk about it, still afraid to put it down as a record, still afraid to show off the mind-boggling before and after photo of the last 50 pounds I have lost, for fear that maybe it will stop, or go away, or I will wake up tomorrow and it won't be real."  She continued on with a powerful post concluding with, "And now, here goes nothing.  It's real.  I will wake up tomorrow and it will still be real."

How do these two seemingly random things tie together in my brain?  What does "There you are Peter!" have to do with this?  Where am I going with this post?

You see I understand Amy's fear to put her words in writing and back them up with a picture showing the Amy before and the Amy now afraid that if she actually put them in print they would somehow not be real tomorrow.  I understand because I had similar concerns.  If I had lost 196.4 pounds who was I now and who was the 196.4 pounds that are now gone? One hundred ninety six pounds is a full grown adult man! Was I the same person that started the weight loss journey or did somehow I get lost in the weight that was gone; was I gone?  This was the same weight I said I hated. Had I somehow disappeared?   Who was buried under the enormity of that extra weight?  Who was I now?  Was I even recognizable?  "There you are Peter!"  I took a deep breath and looked in the mirror, really looked at myself from all possible angles.  I am older and my skin shows the age and the stretching it has endured but I realized I looked like me!  I thought for a while about how I felt about my body, my life in general, my friends and my family and I smiled.  I am content in this baggy skin I wear.  I am happy, really, really happy I am fulfilled and I am loved. "There you are Peter!"  There you are Lynn!  Can you feel me smiling?