In my words, in my actions, in my body language
my daughter hears I love you.
Kisses, surprises, hugs, snuggles,
stories, snacks, treats, time.
She is heard.
She is appreciated.
She is respected.
She is given appropriate boundaries.
She is given appropriate encouragement.
She is protected from things that are too much
for her to see or comprehend.
Her feelings are considered.
Her preferences are considered.
She is loved in ways she doesn’t see or understand
but she knows she matters and she is daily showered with I love you’s.
There are those that never hear these words.
Never feel these words.
When I worked on my degree I did a case study on homeless parents and one mother said, “Everyone keeps telling me how important a loving environment is but I don’t know what that looks like”
We are so quick to attack the actions of others
without considering the place they are walking from.
We are taught to love by being shown love.
We are taught by being loved.
My senior project centered on the thesis that there are not enough resources
available for parents who are at-risk for child abuse and neglect.
We demonize. We despair.
But we don’t often teach.
I’m not going to share my whole thesis here
but as we celebrate love today, consider some ways
to show others what love looks like.
Random acts of kindness are nice but what about
intentionally committing to love one person well.
Invest deeply into someone.
A struggling co-worker,
a difficult student,
an obnoxious neighbor.
A homeless person,
a single parent,
a foster child.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13
Love is messy, love is hard.
It often feels undeserved.
Those who need it most,
will be the most difficult to give it to
but oh what a difference you could make.