Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lessons from Sam: The Importance of I Love You

This is Sam Wiley week. It started when he turned 86 on Sunday. We hung out together most of the day and he talked about life and the lessons learned. 

I didn't actually intend to have an entire week of Sam sessions, but I've gained so much from him over the years that the wisdom he's shared with me is too precious to hoard. 

As many of you will remember, Sam's wife, Jamie, died back in October. They'd been married for six decades. Their daughter died after three months of a heart problem, so it was just the two of them all those years.

It's just Sam and me now, and these are precious, but hard days. Sam has a good many medical problems and he's no longer strong and vigorous like he used to be.

Life has changed for Sam in ways he never imagined. One of those ways, of course, is the loss of his wife. As we sat on the patio Sunday and watched the waves on the lake, Sam talked about regret. 

"The one thing I regret the most is that I didn't tell Jamie I love her enough. We did love each other, in our way, and we had a good life. We didn't have all some people have, but we had enough."

I disagreed. "Jamie knew you loved her, Sam."

"Well it wouldn't have me cost nothing to say it more. I shoulda done that, and I wish now I had. But it's too late. I'm telling you. You better tell the people you love that you do, because your chance will be over before you know it."

Sam's right. I've been thinking about love languages recently. All my characters in my current novel have taken the love language test, and I have, too. My love language is quality time. Sweet words and a big hug are nice, too, but they don't mean much if you don't back it up by spending time with me. 

Judging by almost 27 years with Sam, his love language is either acts of service or quality time, too. Words are not the tool he uses to say I love you, but he's learning. It's too late to say I love you to Jamie, but he's taking advantage of the time he has left to say I love you to those he loves.

There's not a day that passes now that Sam doesn't tell me thank you. There's not a day that passes that he doesn't say I love you, if not in words, then in his actions and his attitudes. He uses words a lot more now than he ever has.

If Sam Wiley, at 86 years old, can learn a new way of loving, we can, too. 

He's right. Life is short. Too short, in some ways. The people we love can be gone in an instant. We need to be intentional about loving while we can. 

We need to show people we love them, but we need to tell those we love that we love them, too. Don't wait until tomorrow. 

Life is short. Love well and don't forget to say it, too.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16 nasb

"Great love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 nasb

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." 
1 Corinthians 13:13 niv
#Iloveyou #lovelanguage #SamWiley