Loving in Sickness and Health

I’ve been sick. Not fun, but it passed quickly, in just a day.  Then, my daughter thought she caught my stomach icky, but luckily, it subsided. Today, my son is home with a sore throat.

Sickness is as routine as good health. The “opposition in all things” reminded me of the energy I enjoyed days earlier and would find again. But that doesn’t make it fun. And it doesn’t keep me from whining when I can’t eat or I don’t feel good.

I read a lot while I recuperated. Fortunately, we’d just scouted out our new library,  checked out a stack of books with our new cards, and received another book in the mail I’ve been waiting to read, Heaven is Here, by Stephanie Nielson.

The first one I tackled, The Importance of Being Kennedy, by Laurie Graham, left me interested but sad with the fictional account of this famous family from the perspective of a nursemaid. Fiction or not, their family relationships in times of tragedy, sickness, fame and fortune seemed less than ideal.

In the second, Stephanie Nielson, a popular blogger, tells her own story of a plane crash that burned 80% of her body and the painful recovery that follows for her and her family. Even though Stephanie faced a devastating tragedy, she grasped ahold of her ideal to create a loving family and home environment in simple ways that made all the difference for her marriage, her kids, and her own recovery.  If you haven’t read it, find a copy and read it soon. It’s now available in paperback.

My reading turned to thinking. I’m no longer a mom of young kids, like Stephanie. Gone are the days when they will curl up and let me love them with a story on the couch. Mine are teenagers, and the emotions seem to rule our house right now. But I’m still seeking to create a home where we love each other through all days—the good and the not so good.

My search turned me to a little booklet produced by our church, For the Strength of Youth, and as a first step, I shared this with my daughter:

How you communicate should reflect who you are as a son or daughter of God. Good language that uplifts, encourages and compliments others invites the Spirit to be with you. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith, hope, and charity.

My mom was right; if you “think before you speak,” your choice of words can create love. But, as I’m sure you also know, that love also develops when we patiently bear the words that are expressed without much thought.

Even as I learn to love my children in new ways, I will always cherish the simple love expressed in making a perfect grilled cheese sandwich for them and their warm thanks. And now that they are teens, that’s what sick days are for.

How do you show love to your teens? How do you keep love in your language and communication? How do you show love beyond just taking care of your family’s needs?


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