I thought about it and wondered if there really needs be an echo, a reply of the same.
“Why do we tell someone “I love you?” I wondered. Oh, the obvious point is to let someone know you care about them. But do we say it so that we can hear it back? If we say those words they certainly aren’t taken or given lightly. There is power behind them, woven in between them and laced with tone’s of commitment. But do we also say them because we, too need reassurance? Are we really saying it this way; “I love you! Do you love me?”
I believe the best things in life come to us without expectations. It reminds me of the tradition of sending greeting cards.
“Should I send a birthday card to Uncle Joe?”
“Did you get one from him for your birthday?
“Well, I wouldn’t send one to him.”
How many things do you do that you label as “giving” when in reality you are expecting a return for your gesture?
Have you ever given something anonymously?
I’m not suggesting that it’s wrong to say “I love you” because you long to hear it. I just wondered how many times we say it without expectations.
So I experimented with it. When somebody tells me “I love you”, I didn’t reply with the same words. I would say “thanks.” In some cases I replied with a hug. Other times I said or did nothing. The words hung in mid air.
For me, hearing the words echo back doesn’t mean that much. It seems too mechanical. Like “Thank you” and “You’re welcome.” It’s polite and proper, but expected.
So here’s what I’ve come up with.
Smile a little more. In a passing glance, return a soft, gentle smile. Practice it in the mirror and you’ll see how your eyes are involved in this expression of love. They seem to sparkle and brighten as they tell the person you bring joy to my life.
Offer to do a little more. “Can I get you something?” “Let me get that for you.” “No, sit I’ll get the phone.” Watch the expression and body language on that person when you do this. They suddenly feel special, like royalty.
Call a little more. For no reason at all. “Just needed to hear your voice.” “I thought about you and thought I’d give you a call.” You won’t see it, but when they hang up they walk a little taller, the smile will linger for a while.
Write a little more. Don’t send a card. Don’t send an email. Take a piece of paper, an envelope and write a quick note to someone you love. Do you realize how valuable that investment is?
Now try saying “I love you” without expectation. If you are doing all of these things those words will not need an echo. They will not hang in mid air and die in sadness because you didn’t hear them back. They will be absorbed by the one they were intended for and they will sigh, not in frustration or confusion, but in satisfaction of knowing it is so.
You actually do this already. When you pray, you say “I love you, God.” You don’t wait for a deep sounding voice in reply. “This is God…I love you, too!”
Because it is understood. We know He loves us not because we hear it, but because we experience it, feel it, and know it.
Our true love for Him is not in the words we say, but in the way we live. When we love each other we love God.
I write for you as an expression of love although we have never met.
If you know that, take a deep breath and sigh…