The subject of this piece of writing is “love,” but this is NOT a February 14th exclusive. Love is not seasonal. However, I must admit that my inspiration for this thought came from some interesting discussions between some very young men who were trying to unravel their understanding of the subject, just before Valentine’s Day 2017. Love, Love, Love! The whole concept seems to be a bit confusing from the get go.
The verb “to love” comes in all shapes and sizes. We can spend a lifetime seeking to understand how to apply this word and its various synonyms to the humanity that surrounds us. Here is a list of some of love’s relatives: “to adore, to delight in, to worship, to feel affection for, to feel attachment, to feel devotion toward, to feel fondness, to feel amour, passion, or romance toward.” And that’s not all of them. There are more!
The other day my son James quietly listened behind the scenes to a brotherly chat on this topic. The conversation took place between his two young sons, Matt and Chris. They were hanging out in the bathroom together, getting ready for bed. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, they were discussing the proper term for what is transpiring when a boy feels some affection toward a girl.
Matt, age 9, started things off. “So Chris, who do you like? Do you like someone?’
Chris, age 6, replied, “What do you mean, ‘Do I like someone?’ Do you mean, ‘Do I have a crush on someone?’ ”
“No, we don’t say “crush”! We say “like!” said Matt, with an air of elder brother experience.
Dad enters the scene, “Hey, what are you guys talking about?”
When they realized there was a real expert on the subject in their midst, they decided to draw on his experience to put an end to the argument.
“Hey Dad, how old are you when you stop saying “crush” and start saying “like?”
James judiciously replied, “Well, how old are you Matt?”
“And how old are you, Chris?”
“Well, it happens sometime between the age of 6 and 9,” he remarked with a grin.
It’s wonderful to listen to little children try to figure out concepts that we adults still wrestle with! If I incline my ears to their words and actions, God often reminds me of pure truth.
This was not the only conversation concerning the subject of love that occurred in our family. At the risk of your thinking that all my grandchildren have sneaky parents, I will share another. Unaware that his mom was listening, Bennett, age 5, confided his Valentine’s Day plans to his 10 year-old brother, Talmage.
“Hey T, guess who’s going to be my valentine? Guess who I’m going to write a letter to for Valentines Day?”
T, who was pretty excited to get a little juicy information on his little brother, responded quickly, “Who?”
Bennett excitedly replied, “Jesus!!! Actually, Heavenly Father, because he probably never gets one!!”
Now that is a precious thought. Bennett’s words make my whole being smile. Why? Because he reminds me of something I already know and believe, but sometimes forget. With all the hustle and bustle of everyday life and my fire to love and serve everyone, I sometime forget that real, true love or charity, as it is called in the scriptures, is the pure love of Jesus Christ, and that if I will love Him purely he will teach me how to best love all of the other people in my life.
Bennett reminds me that Heavenly Father and Jesus should be my Valentines every minute of every day and that every time I take a minute to pray, or pause to listen for the direction of the Spirit, share my testimony, choose a modest dress, partake of the sacrament, hand the bishop my tithing, add one more name to the Family Tree, attend the temple, or take time to smile at, give comfort to, or help one of my spiritual siblings out of a mess, I am loving Heavenly Father and Jesus purely. I am sending Them a valentine.
So whether you are reading this thought on Valentine’s Day or after your candy is gone and your droopy flowers have been sadly carried away by the garbage man, remember that love is not seasonal. In the Kingdom of God, every day that we purely love the Lord and our glorious Father who sent Him and then receive divine help in loving others, it is Valentine’s Day.