Is Love a Legacy that you will leave?
When I was a little boy I learned early certain lessons and biases that had been ingrained in my folks’ upbringing. One was about communicating love. My parents definitely loved me and I knew it. They told me and showed me with frequency and in ways that were very clear. But the unspoken lesson was that we didn’t express love for people outside of a small private group of people, mostly relatives. It just wasn’t done and especially if one was a male. We just sort of expected others to assume we loved them.
I actually didn’t learn differently until I was in my mid to late 50’s. I, of course, had no problem telling girlfriends that I loved them; but that’s not the same as telling it to a group of people all at once, or to a good guy-friend, or to just communicating love in general.
Love has to be expressed or published somehow or it really doesn’t exist other than to just lay there. I guess I remember in the 6th grade being overwhelming in love with a little girl who didn’t know I existed and didn’t care. That hurt. But I didn’t tell her so she didn’t know and didn’t have the option to do with that information what she wanted. But that isn’t the same thing. I think we’re talking about the positive results, the energy that is released, when we “out-loud” communicate our love. The act of communicating positive emotion, of intending to uplift someone, is almost enough by itself. It matters less how we do that expressing or even when. Without the communication itself, it just isn’t there as far as the rest of the world is concerned. John A. Warnick has written a nice article on this and it’s worth your time to tune in. http://johnawarnick.typepad.com/seedlings/2013/07/the-calculus-of-love-a-formula-for-enduring-legacies.html
I can think of dozens of times over my lifetime when I knew I needed to say, “I love you.” But I rarely did. I wonder if the other people even knew I did. I wonder what would have been different in my life if I had. If I had made it a habit, I am pretty sure lots and lots of things would have been different.
As an adult, I once told my best friend that I loved him. I knew it was safe because he had no problem telling me that. But, after saying it, I felt pretty uncomfortable—he didn’t. I learned it was okay, although that didn’t make much difference at the time.
How many out there remember hearing a friend say, “You know, my Dad died last month and what I am grieving most is that I don’t remember him ever saying he loved me or that he was proud of me. He expected me to win the 100 yard dash, but he never said he was proud when I did. I feel a terrible loss.”
You and I know that in most cases Dad was in fact very proud and filled with love, but just wasn’t going to say it.