Last week, I went home to see my parents. Right before I left to see them I found out my grandmother was very sick and they didn't think she had long. So while I was home, I decided to spend as much time with her as possible. Typically, I visit her at the nursing home 1-2 times while i am home. But this time I went every day.
My grandmother has a roommate, Mrs. LaRue. She's a sweet Alzheimer's patient. She's fairly quiet. She'll say hello and sometimes complement your blouse. But the one thing she says over and over again is "I Love You." Its not constant but randomly though out each stay, she'd look over at me and just say "I Love You." Now I understand that she has no idea who I am and probably thinks I am someone close to her. What strikes me is that even if she thinks I am her own child or grandchild, she still says I Love You several times. Of all the things she could say, "I Love You" is her choice. Maybe its just me, but that is amazing to me. Even though she doesn't mean much to me personally, hearing the words "I Love You" from a stranger still makes me smile and warms my heart.
How often do you tell the ones you love that you love them?
Growing up, especially in high school and college, telling someone you loved them was a big deal. It took lots of thought and precision. Maybe not so much with family but definitely with friends and significant others. My parents were always good at telling me they loved me, but it wasn't every other thought... I mean really, who does that? Its just not normal to tell someone you love them constantly or as you think it.
It wasn't until my 30s that those three little words began to flow more freely.
Why don't we tell people we love them often? As we think it? I remember several conversations in college about those words and how protective people were with them. Even recently I saw on a movie or TV show a conversation about how no one had ever said those words... even to family.
Why do we guard ourselves? Is it fear of being vulnerable? Fear of not hearing it back? Love is definitely biblical. So if you are a believer, we are definitely called to love. Even those who are not easy to love. I would think that part of loving someone is expressed through words.
I've noticed in the last few years, the amount of people I freely tell I love you to has grown. Its not flippant. I don't say I Love You because its some salutation. I say it because somewhere in my heart, you are someone I care about and want you to know that. I can tell with some, its not received without awkwardness, but I don't care. I think everyone needs to hear they are loved and often. I hear it from a Alzheimer's patient that has no idea who I am and I go week in the knees. Imagine hearing it from someone who knows you and appreciates you.
Now, I don't say it to those I love as often as sweet Mrs. LaRue. I am not sure it would sound authentic. But I definitely say as I am aware of it. Sometimes I say it using other words or actions. A slight touch on the arm, a "You are my favorite", or a hug around the neck. Those are all forms of I Love You.
I challenge you today, to tell someone you love them. Out of the blue but with heart. See how they react. How did you react? Or tell me I am on crack :)