There are times when we are timid and shy about expressing the love we feel.
For fear of embarrassing the other person, or ourselves, we hesitate to say
the actual words " I love you." So we try to communicate the idea in
other words. We say take care or don't drive too fast or be good.
But really, these are just other ways of saying I love you. You are
important to me. I care what happens to you. I don't want you
to get hurt. We are sometimes very strange people. The only thing
we want to say, and the one thing that we should say, is the one thing we
don't say. And yet because the feeling is so real, and the need to
say it is so strong, we are driven to use other words and signs to say what
we really mean. And many times the meaning never gets communicated at
all and the other person is left feeling unloved and unwanted.
Therefore, we have to LISTEN FOR LOVE in the words that people are saying
to us. Sometimes the explicit words are necessary, but more often,
the manner of saying things is even more important. A joyous insult
carries more affection and love within the sentiments which are expressed
insincerely. An impulsive hug says I LOVE YOU even though the words
might be saying very different.
Any expression of a person"s concern for another says? I love you.
Sometimes the expression is clumsy, sometimes even cruel. Sometimes
we must look and listen very intently for the love that contains. But
it is often there, beneath the surface. A mother may nag her son constantly
about his grades or cleaning his room. The son may hear only the nagging,
but if he listens carefully. he will hear the love underneath the nagging.
His mother wants him to do well, to be successful. Her concern and
love for her son unfortunately emerge in her nagging. But it is love
all the same.
A daughter comes home late, way past her curfew, and her father confronts
her with angry words. The daughter may hear only the anger, but is she
listens carefully, she will hear the love under the anger. I was worried
about you, the father is saying. Because I care about you and
I love you. You are important to me.
We say I love you in many ways- with birthday gifts, and little notes, with
smiles and sometimes with tears. Sometimes we show our love by just
keeping quiet and not saying a word, at other times by speaking out, even
brusquely. We show our love sometimes by impulsiveness. Many times
we have to show our love by forgiving someone who has not listened to the
love we have tried to express.
The problem is listening for love is that we don't always understand the
language of love which the other person is using. A girl may use tears
or emotions to say what she wants to say, and her boyfriend may not understand
her because he expects her to be talking his language.
Thus, we have to force ourselves to really listen for love. The problem
with our world is that people rarely listen to each other. They hear
the words, but they don't listen to the actions that accompany the words or
the expression on the face. Or people listen only for rejection or misunderstanding.
They do not see the love that is there just beneath the surface, even if the
words are angry.
Simon and Garfunkel wrote that very haunting song, The sound of silence.
It goes: "ten thousand people, maybe more. People talking without speaking;
people hearing without listening; people writing songs that voices never shared,
because no one dared disturb the sound of silence..." It is a terrifying
picture of our modern world, a world without communication and without love.
We have to listen for love in those around us. If we listen intently we will
discover that we are a lot more loved than we realize.
Listen for love and we will find that the world is a very loving place, after
- Fr. Joseph A.