Last week I wrote a post about friendship. I’ve started to think about the different ways in which we express our friendship and thus our love for one another. Recently, over lunch, my sisters raised this point too. This got me thinking how I show my affection, my love, my appreciation to family and friends.
A close friend and colleague of mine brought to my attention “The Languages of Love”. There is a well-known book written on the topic – The Five Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman. I admit I have never read the book. It’s on my list of books to read. It is my understanding the book is aimed specifically at intimate relationships. Having said that, as my colleague described his understanding of the five love languages to me a light bulb lit up over my head.
It doesn’t occur to me to give gifts to my friends and loved ones. In fact when faced with getting a person a gift I am out of my depth. I have no idea where to start, what would express thoughtfulness.
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to the USA to attend a conference. Dear friends of mine live several miles from the conference. With great delight I arranged transport to spend a few precious hours with them at their home. Only when I arrived did the thought occur to me that I should have bought them a gift. Something thoughtful and symbolic from my country, sunny South Africa. Suddenly I felt like I had somehow disappointed them. I meekly said: “My present to you is my presence.” They welcomed it. They welcomed me. They understood. Finally I understand.
Yours in lifelong learning,