Growing up, there were three words or phrases rarely (if ever) spoken in our house. The first one was please . I cannot remember a single time when this word was used except in the same sense as give me a break . Logically, if there is no please there will be no thank you . When presents were exchanged there would be a few thank you , but very few. The third missing word was love . I cannot remember a time, other than when they were old and sick, where the words I love you were ever uttered.
My dad was from a generation where it was considered a sign of weakness to talk about love. Thus, I never remember my dad telling me he loved me. He wanted to, but he just couldn't do it. My mom rarely ever talked about love, but she did tell me a few times (especially near the end of her life) I love you . Never did those three simple words mean as much to a son as when my mom freely told me she loved me.
Please and thank you fall in the category of manners and etiquette, but love represents something far bigger and personal. When we are fail to carry out proper manners, it is usually due to lack of instruction. When we are unable to manifest love, it is due to a giant problem that should be addressed lest it grow into a stumbling block.
I think of the scene from Fiddler on the Roof when the older couple was discussing love . They kept asking each other do you love me? I don't remember if they ever arrived at an answer to that question. In reality, the question was one of whether washing clothes and providing food constitute love or not.
Like many couples who have been married a long time, my parents spent the final 20 years of their marriage sleeping in separate rooms. This was a practical arrangement due to my dad grinding his teeth and my mom spending each night reading. Does it mean they did not love each other? In their own way, they truly did, but they never spoke of their love.
Love has befuddled the great and small through history. I pray it does not befuddle us, or become something so difficult, it is never experienced. Thank you for letting me rant about all this today.
I know that your dad grew up in my neck of the woods where until recently, was and still for the most part is, predominating Scandinavian. Culturally, what you describe was/is the norm but that still does not make it right and I guess that is the point I am trying to make. We really can change who we are and in doing so perhaps even change our family "customs". Many of my cousins, as well as myself mindfully tried to do that when raising our own children and yes, it has made an impact I think. We can and need to break out of our "comfort zone".
The last words I ever said to my father as well as my grandma were "I love you" and I am very thankful they were. Though my dad could no longer speak the last time I saw him, I have never forgotten what he did. Though he was dying, he mustered up enough strength and managed to lock his arms tightly around me. I will never forget his expression of love for me.
Love is a mysterious thing -- how can one ever really define it.
I do not remember my parents ever saying "I love You" to each other - yet they stayed together and were faithful to one another till death parted them. Now they are together with the Lord.
This is a very significant and important blog - we must say 'I love you' often to our loved ones and to our God, for this phrase carries with it LIFE AND HEALTH to the hearer and speaker. Sadly as has been pointed out this phrase suffers from under-use.
The Fiddler On the Roof was a movie my parents thought my childhood would be incomplete without. I grew up watching that movie and came to love the honesty in it. At the end of that song, the husband and wife agree that all the things they've done for each other over the years are an expression of love, "Do, I love him? ... I suppose I do." And the husband replies, "And I suppose I love you too." It is a testament to the power of biblical love: caring for one another as a thing to do rather than just a feeling. But I appreciate that the words are incredibly important too. With love, Evie.