Lesson of the Week
Loved: I am cherished
Take away food, water, and oxygen and there is no life. Take away love and there is no living. If you are reading this lesson, you most likely are fed, watered, and oxygenated. But are you loved? The answer will determine your mission outcome.
Unwittingly, a group of orphans were fed and not cuddled. The infants stopped eating and died. The syndrome later became known as nonorganic failure to thrive. The cure was simple: unwanted babies were given compassionate caregivers who started loving the babies with face-to-face, eye-to-eye, cuddling, cooing, caressing, and verbal praise. (See early attachment research by John Bowlby.)
Adults also, fail to thrive. One doctor treated a woman who retired after fifty years of service as a kindergarten teacher. Immediately after retirement, the woman’s health declined. The doctor said he could find nothing physically wrong with her and lamented her subsequent passing. The teacher’s last words told the story, “I’m all alone.” Her perception: everyone that loved her had died or moved on. She was yearning for love.
The post partum diagnosis was interesting. Some family members said she should have “snapped” out of her “pity party”. However, this is not a story about loving. It’s a story about being loved. The elderly educator’s perception was that she was no longer loved or cherished. For her, the only solution was to be reunited with those friends and family who had died or to be able to go back to the classroom and once again feel the love of her kindergarten students.
Scientific tests prove that being loved has a salutary effect on both mind and body. The evidence is vast, compelling, and too detailed for this short lesson. Being loved relates to better heart health and a longer, more productive life.
If you are reading this lesson, you most likely are fed, watered, and oxygenated. Now ask yourself another question, “Am I loved?” To truly live and thrive, the answer must be “Yes”. No matter what your present state – being alone, having lost a partner, parent, or friend, not having a job, being a curmudgeon, lacking purpose, not being famous – no matter what your present situation, the universe holds enough love for you.
If love seems evasive, look nearby because it is around every corner. There are teachers, firemen, policewomen, service station attendants, grocery store cashiers, waitresses, salesclerks, friends, family members, and complete strangers who stand by ready to meet your need. Even if you are not lovable, there are people who can and will cherish you.
Recently there was a motorcyclist who was cut off in traffic. The accident left him trapped under a burning car. Over ten complete strangers came to save his life. The heroes lifted up the car and pulled him out. He would have died, except for being loved and cherished. He was not first tested to see if he were worthy of love. He was not judged to see if the accident was his fault. The strangers just came and loved.
A friend once said being loved is a “sorting” process. She felt unloved by her partner and as a result, her mental and physically health was deteriorating. At the brink of failure, she adopted a “sorting” process. If people were behaving badly towards her, she put them in the “unloving” category. If people were cherishing her, she put them in the “loving” category. The sorting process helped her steer clear of the people who were “unloving”. She started connecting with those who were cherishing her self and work. The end result is that she created a whole new community of people who were supportive and truly loving her. Her home, work, and social life once again flourished.
A mother died. The mother was the center of her daughter’s universe. For several years, the daughter felt she was not able to cope with this loss. One day, the daughter’s sister prepared their mother’s best recipe – spaghetti. The daughter felt loved. As she told the story, “My whole life started over with a new, fresh approach. I realized that even if my mom was gone, I still had her legacy of good – and I could continue to feel loved in everything that she gave me and everything she did. She is gone, but I look around, remember her love, and once again feel loved.”
Today is the day to remember that you are loved and that you can find this love consistently in your day-to-day life. In this place, you and your mission will thrive.
“A baby is born with a need to be loved -- and never outgrows it.
- Frank Howard Clark, American Screenwriter
Activity: Love Letter
Materials: Paper and pencil or pen
Time: Ten minutes per person to write, and ten minutes per person to discuss each result.
1. Think back to your early childhood and remember a time when you were loved and how this love made a vital impact on your life.
2. Write about who, when, where, how, and why this event took place. What made this event so significant and how did it change your life? How is this love still with you today? Write a love/appreciation letter to this person(s), place, or thing.
3. Take out a second sheet of paper and think back over the last month. Remember a time when you were loved and how this love made a vital impact on your life.
4. Write about who, when, where, how, and why this event took place. What made this event so significant and how did it impact your life? How is this love still with you today? Write a love/appreciation letter to this person(s), place, or thing.
5. Share your story with the other people in your group or if you are not in a group, share this story with a friend or family member.
Example: A woman thought how intimidated she felt as a grammar school student. The woman’s third grade teacher must have sensed this consternation and asked a teacher’s helper to give the student extra help understanding the assignments. The student grew up to appreciate being sensitive to other’s needs.
I am loved so I can ....... We'd like to hear your story about the positive impact of being cherished. Write your story below.
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