Languages of Love

I can be very dense sometimes. I often miss what others are telling me specially when I fail to see or read between the lines. I am disappointed when I don’t feel loved just because the other does not love me in the way I want to be loved. Love is about communication and love can be communicated in many way other than words.

May 21 was truly a day of love for me and Anabelle. We received so many words of affirmation from friends and family, we were simply overwhelmed. The best and easiest way to show love is to say it. Anabelle has always treasured the long love letters I write her. We say “I love you” to each other every day, several times during the day, before we go to bed, upon waking up in the morning, when we are tired and weary, when we are relaxing and taking things easy, when we are mad and angry at each other, when we feel like we could not live without each other, and yes even when we feel like we could not live with each other.

Acts of service are also another wonderful way of saying “I love you” It may be something simple like driving Jane and Jonathan to and from school. Or doing the laundry. Anabelle is such a hard-working and industrious wife, mother and lola, she spends hours cleaning, cooking, picking up and putting things in order – all acts of loving service. She literally has worked herself to the bones even the FBI has difficulties getting prints off her fingers.

Love is also receiving gifts, specially if they are surprises and unexpected. She surprised me with an anniversary gift this year that has genuinely saved my butt. I remember the years she was teaching when I would send her flowers at every school opening. I started with one rose on her first year in the Ateneo and I kept adding one rose every year thereafter.  On the last year of her teaching, the bouquet I sent her had three dozen roses.

For me, the most beautiful and poignant way to say “I love you” is quality time. Presence says it all. To share the joys and the tears, to feel the sadness and the happiness of the loved one, I have to be present for her. I have to be there. I love being there to show my love. And I love my loved ones to be here to feel their love. A poem I loved from my youth went: “You do nothing. You say nothing. You only stay.”

Presence is best felt and truly treasured when accompanied by physical touch. I am a ‘touchy’ person. I love touch and I love to touch. A kiss, a hug, a warm embrace can make all the difference between a delightful day and a dreary one. A touch can soothe any pain and a touch is a sure sign of the presence of loved ones.

God speaks His own language of love. I see the beauty and awesomeness in nature and how can I not hear the voice of God or at the very least feel His presence. My life unfolds in the most unexpectedly blessed manner and how can I fail to see that God is speaking to me. Yes, me! And He took on flesh to speak our own languages of love. He spoke to us words of affirmation. He showed us acts of service. He spent quality time with us. He touched people and allowed Himself to be touched by them. And then He gave us the supreme gift of laying down His life for His friends – us.

I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”
John 15:12-17

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