You know those three little words? Yeah, the ones that mean so much to someone you care about. The ones a lot of people don’t hear? Well, today has me pondering those three simple words.
Oh, did I surprise you? Were you expecting I Love You? Yes, those are powerful words as well, and in actuality, they sometimes slip out of my mouth much easier and more frequently than I Miss You. Depending on who you are, how I say to you “I Love You” means and sounds very different. My lil’ sis and I have our funky way that came out of my usual jumble of mixed up words from different languages. I love how Spanish has two different words as they fit more with how I think. Greek is probably even better as they have more than that with different meanings. (Am I showing my nerdy, I-love-languages side?)
But I don’t want to write about those typical three little words. I want to talk about MISSING. You see, it’s hard for me to say something like “I miss you” (or the other words) without meaning it. So, I just don’t.
Oh, sometimes I want to kill the practical side of me that stuffs my emotions away, allowing myself to keep from getting hurt or keeping me from feeling the longing for my friends and family. This often ends up with me regretting something and wishing for second chances.
Being a missionary, one has a plethora of opportunities to say “I miss you.” One also has opportunities to say “Hi” and then “Goodbye” over, and over, and over again. Those in the military understand this just as well, probably even more so.
It’s not easy to pick up your cross and follow your Savior and Love around the world to those who are hurting and lost. This time going overseas I’ve been discovering that right now it’s actually harder than the first. Oh, still so very much an adventure with my King! But He’s been stripping things away and helping me realize that I MISS people.
This time, thanks to the improvement in technology, I am able to talk with my family and friends more. (It could also be due to the fact that I’m not living in a cave in the Andes mountains!) Thanks to KakaoTalk, WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, FaceTime, iMessage, email, etc.., I am connected to my friends. I definitely do better with face-to-face time but I relish that I can send a note quickly and easily, and receive them as well.
Thanks to the purposeful and deep friendships I developed (and those I continued to develop) over the pass four years, I have people who want to connect with me….and miss me, just as I miss them. Did I just say that? YES! I miss them. And the amazing thing is that they tell me that they miss me and it makes me feel wonderful! And I can return saying the same. I miss seeing my friends at work and hanging out. I miss seeing my friends at church and serving alongside them. I miss hanging out with my family. I miss my roomie. I miss my family and friends in Peru.
So why don’t we say it more? Why don’t I say it more? We each must answer that question individually. I’m learning to open my heart and say what I mean, because there is a beauty there. God is teaching me to stop hiding and allow my heart to be seen while seeking His heart and trusting Him.
And so, my dear friends whom I miss and love, I want to leave you with a story I read long ago as a child but had forgotten until now. May you be encouraged to speak both of these three simple words today and share your beautiful heart with others!
The Perfect Heart
One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it.
Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart.
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said “Why, your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine.”
The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars, it had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn’t fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing.
The people stared – how can he say his heart is more beautiful, they thought? The young man looked at the old man’s heart and saw its state and laughed. “You must be joking,” he said. “Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”
“Yes,” said the old man, “Yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love – I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared.
“Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn’t returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges – giving love is taking a chance.
“Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?”
The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands. The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man’s heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.
The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man’s heart flowed into his. They embraced and walked away side by side.