FAITHFUL LIVING: Look everywhere for all the symbols of love

To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving in all others.

— Anne-Sophie Swetchine

It seemed like a great idea at first: I’d surprise my husband with roses. After all, it is Matt who opened an account with a local florist some years ago and sends our daughters and me flowers to mark special occasions. All three of us absolutely love flowers. They speak to us and I wondered if the sender at our house might enjoy being the receiver this Valentine’s Day. I clicked onto the Internet for a quick price check and saw an ad from that immediately caught my eye: a dozen premium red roses in a simple clear glass vase would set me back $79.99. Roses in a Gorham vase would run me $119.00.

I looked out the window at the misty rain and realized that the cost set this potential plan of mine just out of reach — just as it did some years ago when I was a stay-at-home mommy and our son was a preschooler. As that Valentine’s Day neared I had contemplated the whole roses thing as well, and when roses were too costly back then I had been consoled by Daniel and his best buddy Kurtie as they played around the house. I clearly remember watching them play together like it was yesterday.

“I got my sword; this ruler is your sword,” Daniel had said.

“I’m the hungriest, I get more chips,” Kurt replied.

“Kurtie, come on! They’re after us,” Dan had warned using his deepest voice.

The chairs were moved, there were quick steps and sudden laughter. I stopped my house cleaning to peek around the corner and look in on the scene. And what I saw brings a smile to my heart even today: two swords and two little men, readying for battle from under the table. Two knights of the roundtable, with their chips and juice boxes. Their emerging masculinity and their purity.

“I got ‘em!” Kurt yelled.

“Good job, Kurtie,” my son exclaimed.

“I love you.”

“I love you too, Dan,” Kurt replied.

The event produced a tear back then and the memory does the same, even today. Yet it also brings me delight, for this Valentine’s Day they are “tweens” and still buddies. Only today they “hang out” and backpack and ride 4-wheelers. In fact, it will delight me to remind them that on that particular day they both cried when it came time for Kurt to go home. I will also remind them that back then being best buddies meant hugging when they felt like it, wrestling inside forts made of blankets, and sliding down our stairs to see who could get down the fastest.

I envy that spontaneous, truly natural style of demonstrating love — and the ability to burst forth with an enthusiastic “I love you!” because you are having a great time with your best buddy.

How many of us cannot pay $79.99 for flowers, are exercising like crazy to get last year’s box of chocolates off our hips, will hope for diamonds when the kids have completed college, and think sexy nightgowns are great if only it were not so cold?

How many of us want to become more loving individuals and long to make love the foundation of everything we do every day, rather than becoming crazed consumers every Feb. 14 to prove our devotion?

It is this foundational approach to love that Christ speaks about in the book of Mark when He reminds us that God’s laws, first outlined in the Old Testament, can be incorporated into our everyday lives without burden. In fact, they can also be reduced to two foundational principles: Love God with all your heart and all your mind and love others in the ways you desire to be loved.

It is now that the world of opportunity breaks open with a million and two creative ways to demonstrate our love to those with whom we come in contact. How about taking the time to listen? To praise and compliment and encourage? To value and respect? To notice small needs and respond in personal ways?

How about a hug? A call. An e-mail. A card. A prayer. A meal. A ride.

How about cultivating a loving attitude — that will grow and bloom all year long because it is watered and fertilized by God’s love?

Freelance writer Joan Bay Klope’s e-mail address

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