There are so many ways to interpret such a simple phrase “I love you.”
There is the I love you like I love chocolate or my favorite jeans type of love.
There is the I adore you because you just brought me a coffee love.
There is the I love you because you are my friend or because Jesus has commanded me to type as well…
There is the passionately IN love with you version.
And then, there is the I love you born out of history, compassion, choice, and friendship.
It dawned on me today as I was chatting with my sister in law, we ended our conversation with our typical “I love you.. I love you too.” Not only is this nothing new or out of the ordinary, but my entire immediate family talk to each other in this manner. My brothers, my parents, my sister and sister in laws, even my nephews and niece and our assimilated-into-the-family-brother, all of us say and show each other love all the time. — So much so that we do not even think about it anymore.
After spending some time at my parents house, as one of us leaves, everyone else literally lines up and hugs the one leaving… Every single time. I cannot remember when the line of goodbye hugs started, but I truly treasure this naturally born habit we have formed as a family.
Conversations on the phone virtually always end with “I love you” before we hang up… Chatting online tends to follow the same pattern.
I think what has struck me in this commonplace action in my family is, no one person instigates the hugs or the I love yous, it is never a one sided action, and there is never any doubt that we each mean it.
What a special and precious gift.