Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Some weeks ago, my friend said that she loved me. Actually, I’m not entirely convinced that she did. I had written about her recently a couple of times. She is my very old and dear friend that was struggling with her fiancée and anticipated leaving him. She’s the one I was going to help.
She decided that she was going to stay with her boyfriend after all, but we still talk. Heck, we’ve been friends for years, even though we never met in person, and I count her as a very important and dear friend. So, we were chatting on the phone (I do not recall the main subject of the conversation), but as we were wrapping up, she said those three little words.
To be honest, hearing her say “I love you” scared the tar out of me. I had no idea how to respond. Not because I don’t love her; I do, but I had no idea how she meant it. There are many connotations of that phrase, and while I’m sure she didn’t mean to say that she loves me as she does her significant other, I wasn’t sure how exactly she did mean it. Heck, she might not have even meant to say it at all. It might have been one of those reflex comments we sometimes make as we say goodbye, like when we say “thanks, I love you” when the mailman hands us the package we just signed for. I worried if she would understand how I mean it if I were to reply, as I wanted to, “I love you, too.” She knows I’m very attracted to her, and she knows she’s been a part of my life for a very long time, so would she take it as having more depth than I intended? So, like a jerk, I just said, “okay, talk to you later.”
Yeah, that’s not dismissive at all.
But it wasn’t meant to be. The problem with that phrase is that it has become far too common, uttered meaninglessly by too many people, usually men in the hopes that it will “seal the deal” with that woman he met twenty minutes ago. So, should we avoid saying it?
Absolutely not, but neither should we take the phrase at face value. In fact, the point of this post is to say that, as awkwardly as I left that comment, I hope I shouldn’t have to tell her that I love her. I’m honestly hoping that my actions speak my feelings for her loud enough.
With or without words, love, in my humble opinion, should be taken to be a verb. There are many ways to show love, both large and small. Unfortunately, there are also ways to show disdain. All too often, these actions and words are used as a sort of “mix and match”. I used to know someone in middle school who called himself a “friend” but treated me terribly. How many of us have had “friends” talk about us behind our backs, spreading rumors or insulting us to others? My wife used to say she loved me but was emotionally abusive at the same time.
In the end, it’s actions that matter, not words. When someone says they love me, but their actions don’t reflect it, I’ve learned to always trust the actions. When I love, I love deeply. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for those I love. Today, a friend of mine is under the weather, and I offered to bring her soup. It might not seem like much, and she turned me down, but I only did this because she is important to me. I love her. Another friend of mine just had a birthday. I sent her my wishes that her birthday is filled with love and surprises, and I wrote a story for her as well.
I hope these kinds of acts are not uncommon. I try to let my friends know how important they are to me, and how much I love them, but ultimately, I truly hope that it’s not necessary for me to say this. I hope that I show them how much I love them, and that I show it regularly.
And for you, my readers, yes, I love you, too. It’s a little more difficult to show my love for you, but I’m hoping that these posts, my regular blogs and the efforts to put one out every day, is the action that shows you how important you are to me. Thank you so much for reading, and for the reader that needs to hear this, yes, you are loved.