Enjoy the love, beauty that surrounds us on Whidbey

Did you know there are lessons of love right outside your door?

To best experience them, I suggest you walk out into the early morning air, briefly stepping away from schedules and frantic morning TV programming, or immediately after dinner for some wind-down time.

Ask God to give you the eyes to see and the heart to experience the gifts of nature right here on Whidbey Island. The expansive number of hiking trails, the long days and a dog needing exercise are ingredients for creating a beautiful summertime memory.

It is weather like we’ve been enjoying this week when I long for natural, pure symbols of love to teach and guide my heart.

That is why I venture outside — to pull up crab pots, water my garden or sit out on my porch to visit with family and friends apart from anything electronic.

It was while watching my dear friend Jane Ritter’s little granddaughters Cella and Chloe Ritter lick Popsicles and chatter about everything that came to mind Thursday evening that I thought about nature and babies and the kinds of love expressed in them all.

Most of us instinctively understand that love is more expansive than romance. But we need some reminders.

The first kind of love is the covenant love God has for people — a love that can redeem us, sustain us when life is terribly difficult and can secure us a place in His presence for all eternity.

There is that primal, soul-grabbing love we experience when we think about our children. Deeply linked to our emotions and always complex, it feeds our connection to future generations and builds upon our abilities to be supportive and even to forgive when it’s needed.

There is a benevolent love God places in our heart for friends, neighbors, co-workers and people in need.

It is demonstrated in service and not only creates a lifeline to those who benefit from our care, but such love produces in us deeper patience, understanding and generosity that goes beyond what we alone can offer.

I’m reminded of this love when I look upon the bleeding heart plant growing on the north side of my house.

First introduced to me years ago by my friend Corinne Boon, Oak Harbor’s well-known smooth collie breeder, small business owner and longtime friend of mine, it gifts us with dainty heart-shaped blooms before going dormant during winter months.

Each spring as I watch the plant rise out of the ground, I am reminded that the love of a friend can become one of the most enduring and satisfying forms of love we will experience in our lives.

Allow the incredible beauty that surrounds us here on Whidbey to remind you that God created a beautiful world for us to enjoy because He loves us. Get up early and drink your coffee out in the morning sunshine.

Open the windows.

Walk the beaches and collect glass. Spend time exploring Deception Pass State Park or Fort Ebey.

Grab some frozen yogurt from Toppins or Whidberry — decorated with your favorite toppings —and catch up with friends you haven’t seen in awhile.

Drive over to Penn Cove and watch the eagles soar overhead as Penn Cove Shellfish workers bring mussels up from pods suspended from rafts.

Enjoy the love that surrounds you.

Joan Bay Klope can be reached at faithful living@hotmail.com

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