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Expressions of Love

The woman who cuts my hair came for lunch today.  She’s also a school bus driver so between her morning and afternoon bus routes, she drove an hour north to spend a couple of hours with me. We sat by the fire, drinking chai tea and at 12:30, my husband joined us for a heart-happy lunch of salmon, tomatoes, lima beans and rice, courtesy of a Dr. Oz show I recently watched.

Lindsey and I have known each other for about five years and I value her friendship so much.  We always have rich and memorable  conversations about life, marriage, family and personal struggles. We are honest with and learn from each other every time we meet.  We both enjoy talking about meaningful things – it really connects us.

Today, Lindsey unknowingly blessed me with a nugget of truth.

She was telling me a story about her son, who doesn’t verbally communicate as much as her daughters.

“He’s so laid back and I often wonder what he’s thinking about but he gives the best hugs ever.”

Her comment stopped me in my tracks – it took me back to an incident that happened over the holidays.

I have a 23-year old son who flew home from England for the Christmas break. It was so wonderful to see him but I have to admit that I was frustrated that he didn’t talk more with me. In fact, it upset me because I expected some good “sit down and talk deep” conversations with him. I figured that if I wanted to have some meaningful talk time, he should too, right?  Wrong…so wrong.

The day he left to return to England, I had to tutor a student earlier in the day so I texted him when I had a break.

Wish you would have talked more with me, Drew.  I feel disconnected with you. 

His response was very telling.

I don’t feel disconnected. 

Hm….that’s interesting.  I continued to text him.

I’m so glad that you came home. I love you. 

….and Drew texted right backLove you too. 

When we met up and drove to the airport, I was still feeling sad because from my perspective, Drew and I “should have” talked more.  But when it was time to say good bye, he gave me the most wonderful, unreserved, authentic and reassuring bear hug. My eyes filled up with tears and when Drew saw this happening, he walked towards me again and gave me another big and lingering hug.

I didn’t want him to let go. His hug said everything – he didn’t need to say a word.

I’m sitting here in tears, just thinking about that moment.

This morning, Lindsey’s story provided a much needed reminder that people express their love in different ways. I know that – I’ve read many of Gary Chapman’s love language books, but there are times that I slip into that unhealthy track of expecting others to express their love to me the way that I naturally express love to them…and THAT’S not good.

Looks like I have an apology to make…because all love expressions involve saying “sorry.”

Never ruin an apology with an excuse. Kimberly Johnson

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