Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How Much Do I Love You? I'm Not Allowed to Say.

Yesterday, I started wondering about when we are allowed to tell people that we love them. I'm talking about anyone - friends, family, significant others, pets :). When can we say it? Only at birthdays and on holidays? When a friend is going through a particularly trying period? When a friend helps us through a particularly trying period?

I wondered next if we are ever really "allowed" to say how much we love people. Love can be overwhelming, especially when one person feels it more than another. When I thought about that, particularly in relation to friendships, I decided that love can take on a number of forms and be expressed in a number of ways. Love can be gratitude: "Thank you for all you do in my life. I can't tell you how much it means." Love can be: "I miss talking to something other than your voice mail."

When I thought of gratitude, I also wondered if we're ever really allowed to express how grateful we are to someone. When some of the people I work with thank me for a job well done, I sometimes feel like they've gone overboard. They don't know the complaining, whining and sighing that was involved in my completeing a particular task, but I do, and their gratitude is truly an overestimate. So, I probably don't properly express my appreciation for their gratitude. If a friend helps me by sending a card, and the card happens to arrive on a terrible day, my level of gratitude increases tremendously, but the friend just happened to send a card and might feel my appreciation outweighs a simple card from Hallmark.

I've found one exception to this odd little rule: parents. Or, at least, mothers. Mothers can tell their children how much they love them, and though the children might roll their eyes, they're also not going to stop scheduling lunch with their mothers because they've just said, "I love you." Also, mothers don't mind if you send a Hallmark card every now and then, or cook dinner, or show some other simple sign of appreciation. Of course, even then, I have a feeling that mothers love us to a level even beyond what is capable of being expressed in the human language.

So, with all of the confusion, all I can do is love my friends, love my family and love my pets. I tell them all as often as I can in ways I know how. And they do the same for me. For this, I am grateful beyond measure.

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