Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Do People Know You Love Them? Say It NOW!!

 If today were your last day with someone, child or adult, will they know that you love them?
Like you, my heart has been mourning the loss of life at Sandyhook Elementary School. Like you my husband and I watched horrified and sickened as the news unfolded.  Our stomach in knots, our eyes filled with tears.  Sleep was not easy for you either, I'm sure.  I went to sleep crying for the families.

Saturday morning I had to face a rehearsal for our Children's Church Christmas Program with a dozen 4 yr old to 6th graders.  I woke early, not wanting to do the  practice. Each time I thought of looking into the eyes of the children I started weeping for those that were slain.  I went to the church very early and I prayed.  I prayed for the families in Newtown, I prayed for their community, the first responders, the clergy and grief counselors, and then I prayed for myself to get through the practice and for the children in my charge.

Then a peace that passed all understanding swept over me.
The children brought comfort amidst sadness.

God reminded me of  something that a first grade teacher at Sandyhook said when she was being interviewed Friday night after the tragedy. She had locked all her students and herself in a tiny bathroom.  Tearfully she explained (paraphrased) that she started telling her students how much she loved them, because she was fearful  they were all going to be killed and  she didn't want the last thing they heard to be gunshots, but rather someone saying, 'I love you.'

I love you.  

Our beautiful children saying the ABCs of Christmas -
L was for the King of Love
Peace surfaced for me from something so simple, but so deeply effective.  It seemed God whispered to me, 'Just let the children know you love'll get through the practice.'  I started the practice out by having the children sit in a circle with me.  Then I said, "I love you. All of the adults here love you.  And God loves you most.  That's why  this Christmas program is so important.  So we can tell others that God loves them too."

For 17 years, I've been doing these Christmas programs  - the last practices are always rough and frustrating.  But Saturday's practice was indescribably polished and, dare I say, easy?  Was it all because the priority was not perfect delivery, but was to let the children know they were loved?   That no matter if they messed up their lines or missed a cue or misbehaved, we loved them.   

The children celebrating God's Gift of Love
I've always cared for the children in my classes.  But I have never felt the immediate urgency and priority to make sure that at that very moment I was with them, that very day, they knew they were loved.  That if it was the last time I could be with them, they would know I loved them.  I hugged them all after practice and Sunday's performance was awesome.  It was good to find joy again.  Like you though, I've still been mourning and overcome by tears, but now I know what I can do to make a memory for those lost at Sandyhook...

 If today were your last day with someone, child or adult, will they know that you love them?  I challenge you, in the memory of those lost at Sandyhook, to let the people you are with today, this moment, and days to come know that you love them.  Know that you care.  Look into their eyes and say, 'I love you,' then show them by your actions.  

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God
1 John 4:7

How will you show your love?  Share with me in the comments.


  1. Great message, Laura! Makes saying "I love you" to my kids more meaningful.

  2. Simple words but oh so powerful and sustaining. God bless, Tina.