Recently, our two-year-old has been saying, “I give you heart,” when anyone in the family is hurt. She runs over to that person and offers a kiss and then this phrase.
At first, I thought she was saying “I give you hugs,” but as I listened more closely, I realized she was making a connection between the heart symbol and love and care. The more I thought about it, the more I realized perhaps she already has a deeper understanding of what love is.
Because that is what love is, isn’t it? Each time we love, we vulnerably open up our hearts and souls to seeing and feeling what another person sees and feels. Each time we say I love you, we are giving a piece of our heart or a piece of ourselves to that person. We are saying I have opened myself up to care and to connect with you.
Maybe this is why we are finding ourselves in a time of divisiveness and defensiveness because opening up your heart again and again also means that we are opening ourselves up to hurt. When we care for someone else, we open ourselves to their hurt and also to the possibility of being hurt. We open our hearts up to disappointment and loneliness, too. This loving each other really is difficult, deep work.
I see it in her eyes too, when she wants to “give heart” to someone and they don’t want to receive it or aren’t ready for her flying hugs. It would be easy for her to close herself off and not notice the hurts and pains of others after being rejected, and yet, she doesn’t give up. She still comes back and tries to “give heart” the next day.
“I give you heart” because when we do we are giving something God, God’s self gave us.