First I would say that I love you.
That seems easy enough, right? It’s something that you probably already know. However, I don’t just say I love you. I really do, actually love you. And do you know what that means?
It means that no matter what’s going on in my day, my week, or my crazy emotional head, the answer is Yes, I would love to hang out with you.
The answer will always be yes. No matter how busy or how overscheduled I allow myself to become, I can promise you that if you say, “Hey, we should hang out,” my answer will always, always be Yes, please.
Do you know why that is? It’s because I don’t just love you. I like you.
I like how funny you are.
And how smart you are.
And I like the sound of your voice and the way you laugh.
I like the way you pray, though you’ll probably say you don’t think it’s “good enough” – as if such a thing is possible.
See? I even like you when you’re wrong. Which reminds me:
I like you even though you don’t have the same instinctual affinity for grammar that I have.
I like you even when you don’t like my favorite song, or read my favorite books, or watch
my favorite show Doctor Who.
I like you even though you’re different than me: you’re taller or skinnier or endowed with a more enviable figure. You’re smarter, or more talented, or better equipped to leap tall buildings with a single bound (and I think you can, you know). I like you when the answer to a problem is so clear and easy to you that I feel stupid for being stumped by it. I like you when you do things better than me, when you speak your mind, when you challenge me to be better than I want to be.
I like you because you are you, and you couldn’t be a better you by being just like me. In fact, you would be a TERRIBLE you if you were me. And that’s why I don’t just like you. I admire you.
I admire the way you can take (what I think is) a mess and use it to make something beautiful.
I admire you for what you contribute to the world around you – though right now you’re thinking, “And just what do I contribute?” Because it’s just like you not to see your own strengths, you’re probably right now creating a list of all of the things you don’t do that you should do in order to contribute something worthwhile to the world.
But herein lies my secret.
You think I’ve written all of this to encourage you, as though we both believe there is something in me that you need to hear. And wouldn’t it be nice if that were true? If out of my own goodness – out of the generosity of my own selfless heart – I could pour some life into poor, discouraged you?
Alas, I am far too selfish for that.
So here’s the truth: I tell you these things not because I think there is something in me that you need, but because I know there is something in you that I need.
I need the encouragement and strength and joy I receive just by being with you. Whether sitting across the dinner table or sitting next to me at church – or in the car, or on the porch, or wherever we are – you impart to me. You add good things to me.
You make me better without even trying.
Now I can go about my busy life being some sad, deflated version of me, and probably no one would even notice. I can put on my I’m-already-the-best-version-of-me face and make-believe it’s true.
Or I could spend time with you and actually be the best version of me.
If you wonder what my choice would be, you should go back to the top and start reading again.
With all my love (and like and admiration),