Did you know that sometimes people are actually saying “I love you,” even when like the words coming out of their mouths sound altogether different? It’s true. Case in point: Sometimes people try to form the word “love” and it comes out sounding like “donut.”
When I was a kid, we’d go to Washington State every summer to visit my grandparents. There were so many fun memories from those July days: picking raspberries in Grandpa’s garden, going waterskiing on the Columbia River, and playing endless games of shuffleboard in Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard.
But one of my favorite memories from those trips was waking up early to the heavenly smell of homemade donuts. Without fail, Grandma would get up before the crack of dawn so she could whip together the first batch. By the time everyone else woke up, the countertops were lined with doughy goodness: traditional circle donuts, donut holes, and donuts dusted with powdered sugar. By the time I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and ambled to the kitchen in all my pajamaed glory, Grandma had been on her feet for hours.
I’m not sure I could have articulated it then, but now I know that what she was saying with those donuts was “I love you.” If Gary Chapman ever adds a sixth love language to his classic book, I’m lobbying for it to be food. Because food is, without a doubt, the way Grandma communicates love.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to realize that love doesn’t have as narrow of a definition as I used to imagine. Maybe I’d watched one too many romantic comedies or Disney-fied fairy tales, but I used to have the notion that love was primarily a happily-ever-after sort of thing that’s found only on rare occasions. And I had the idea that if you loved someone, you probably had to make an eloquent speech about it.
But now I’m starting to realize that there is so much love all around, if only we can recognize it. And there are a lot of ways to express that love beyond the traditional “I love you.”
When your mom says, “Call me when you get home,” she’s really saying “I love you.”
When your dad says, “I can fix that for you,” he’s really saying “I love you.”
When your friend says, “Let’s get coffee,” she’s really saying “I love you.”
When God paints a sunrise for you just as you’re walking out the door, he’s really saying “I love you.”
And of course, when your grandma makes you donuts, she’s really saying “I love you.”
One of the greatest gifts of writing my memoir was getting to relive a chunk of my life and trace all the love that came in unexpected places. No, it didn’t come in the form of a husband and kids during that season of my life the way I’d planned. But even so, God was pouring out so much love onto me that it seeped out through every crack and crevice.
How often do we miss the love because it doesn’t come in the package we expect?
Today is National Donut Day, but I’d like to hereby proclaim it National Look-for-the-Love Day. So whatever form loves comes to you in today, whether via donuts or otherwise, I urge you to recognize it for what it is. Embrace the love, even when it comes in an unlikely package.
So what’s your story? When has love come to you in an unexpected way or from an unexpected source?
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