I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Mona's Musings

July 7th, 2010

They Loved Us First

“And remember, my sentimental friend…that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”  – The Wizard of Oz to the Tin Man

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We sit across them at a round, linen-covered table, engrossed equally in conversation and beautiful food.  These friends of ours just flew in from Florida to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in London. We discuss mutual associates and they tell us all about friends and family whom we’ve never met, but they do it in such a way that we can’t help caring as much as they do about the brother whose life was saved by a gastric by-pass, or the former student who narrowly escaped the mafia, or the middle-aged widow who happily married a wealthy dentist.

While hugging good-bye in front of the costumed bell-hops at the hotel, these fine friends said to me, “We feel so close to you. You know how much we love you.

After parting, as our taxi sails past Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben toward Waterloo Station, I marvel at how good I feel.

“You know what, honey? The Perinchiefs are the epitome of the Christian maxim: ‘we loved him because he first loved us.’”

He agrees.

“I thought we were getting pretty good at that,” I say, referring to our recent July 4th celebration with new friends from America, Australia, South Africa, New Guinea, Romania and England. “But the Perinchiefs are amazing.”

“They’ve been at it longer,” Dale reminds me.

They’ve been at it longer…hmmm. Burt taught community college music for thirty-one years (including directing Handel’s “Messiah” annually) and led his church’s music program for twenty-five. Hazel spent the same amount of time teaching grade school. That represents a lot of caring for others as well as for one another.

Over dinner they told us how they recently renewed their vows in front of five-hundred people. She wore a “knock-out” dress with flouncy layers like a Spanish skirt and he “of course” had worn a tux. Why, I asked, did you do it?

“Because!” she giggled. “I’m only just now getting to know him!”

He looked at her sweetly then turned thoughtful.

“We thought it would be nice,” he said, “for others.”

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Hint of Romance

The secret to being loved is being the first to love. How do you think that applies to marriage?

What did you think of this musing?

Join the discussion!

Discussion

  1. Sara Lyn says:

    I remember I met a girl and thought she was kind of annoying until one day when she told me how much she admired me. Oh, boy. I first felt guilty. Then I took a second look at her to see what else was there. She ended up becoming a very close friend. I think we are naturally drawn to people who really love us. They are usually easier to love. Then, of course, if we love and show love to our spouse, it begins that cycle of one feeling love and thus showing love, so the other feels love and shows love. I just have to say that I really admire people who are good at loving and showing love first. Thank you for sharing that really sweet experience with your friends.

  2. Grant Z says:

    This is just so true! The Perinchiefs really are some of the most loving people you’ll ever meet. I’m so grateful for what they have done for me and how they’ve looked out for me, even from afar.

    I have gained an understanding over the years that love really is the key to real, lasting, and joyous relationships. It means really caring how someone is doing, what they are doing, and how you can be a help to them. It’s accepting them for who they are and believe in their futures. Marriage is all about this kind of love. I’m not perfect at it, but I’ve had enough experiences to know that this is case.

    • Bri Z. says:

      If you’re not perfect, you’re not far off baby. Thank you for practicing “anxious concern for the comfort and well-being” of your wife and always believing in me. I love you!

  3. Bri Z. says:

    I was explaining to Grant about my Young Women leaders last night. As young women, I think we knew they weren’t perfect, yet we idolized them. They were only our leaders for a few years of our youth and yet we’ve each developed lasting relationships with them that continue on today.

    As I reflected, I tried to understand where our intense love for them came from. Then I realized, we wrote them a song the week after they had been released. We wrote that song for them after they had spent one last weekend on the beach with us. I have a memory of Sister Ellis sitting behind me on the sand and wrapping her arms around my shoulder and telling me how special I was. I recall the evidence of hours of preparation in each lesson they taught us. I remember Sister Sprague sobbing as she passed out carved wooden angels unique to each girl’s personality as a parting gift. Through years of memories, I uncover encouraging notes left on my car, birthday notes and gifts long after their duty was fulfilled to us, and images of them praying, the importance they put on spiritual things, and hearing their testimonies.

    Because I KNEW of their love, spoken and unspoken, in every action I WANTED to be who they wanted me to be. I wanted to be better. And because I knew they loved me, I loved them. . . so much, and I still do. Their influence over my youth is second only to my own mother’s. I still try to live like they did. I still aspire to be the kind of woman that they each were and still are. Their love was their power and their gift.

    I think it is impossible to harbor angry feelings for someone who is serving you out of love. . . who manifests their love in word and deed, sincerely and whole-heartedly. You can see that love shining in their eyes. It is impossible not to see it. I saw it in my leader’s faces as a youth, my parent’s eyes as I matured each day, and I see a similar but brighter light in my husband’s eyes today. Today it is not only a light of pure love but of belonging.

    • Heidi says:

      Bri–I love how you put this. It had me reflecting on my YW leaders and agreeing with you. Especially the part of wanting to be who they wanted me to be. I have the same thing with my parents.

  4. Heidi says:

    I think with marriage, or any relationship, loving first shows a wonderful trait of selflessness. I don’t really know how I am in loving first in my relationships, but after this post I definitely want to be more aware and conscious of it, and improve myself in that area.

  5. What an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    I recall a time in my 10 year marriage that I thought that wasn’t being loved the way I felt I should. I became sulky and sullen and I just couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so low. I would wake up every morning and go to bed every night and do chores and general ‘life’ things in between…so why was I feeling so empty?
    I would complain and complain that Tim just didn’t love me enough to which he would adamantly protest time and again. But of course I was right. I mean, really, how could I possibly be wrong!! I knew my heart. I knew my emotions. They were MINE afterall.
    I don’t know when it happened…but one day it just hit me. How can I possibly feel loved when I am so absorbed in myself and my needs and neglected Tim. Completely neglecting him. I don’t know how he did it; loving me when I was giving Nothing back. Thankfully he did.
    Now I realize that if I want to feel more loved I have to love Tim first. It just simply won’t work if only one person is giving everything and the other nothing.
    You can’t draw water from an empty well.

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