Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Love Letter To Your Sweetheart

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” - Proverbs 3:3

This Valentine’s Day will be a bittersweet one for us this year. Our love is walking through unknown places as Johnny’s health gets worse. We are walking hand in hand, but there is an unseen wall that divides us. I can see Johnny. I can touch Johnny. But it is as if he is straddling two worlds. He is with me but at the same time he is not with me.

His pain and nausea wrap him in a cocoon that takes up all his focus. He finds it hard to concentrate on much else. When his eyes are closed he is not necessarily sleeping. He says these are his moments of peace when he is able to tune out the rest to a certain degree.

And so we continue to walk together – step by step – day by day – living moment by moment. I am holding on to his hand as tight as I can. I want to pour out my heart to him. But we are beyond words now. That is why I am so glad that a few years ago I wrote him a love letter telling him all the things I appreciated about him. It took him by surprise when I read it out loud to him. Actually, it is a “love list.”

I made a list of everything good about Johnny that I recognized, to read to myself each morning. It was my way of thanking God for our incredible love. I wracked my brain thinking of every single little thing I could – big or small – that I appreciated about him. Then it occurred to me that maybe I took for granted that he knew all this. I realized that too often, we DO NOT say things to each other, because we assume they know what we are thinking. So one day I sat him down and read my list to him.

I honestly think this was the best gift I ever gave him. I saw his face light up and his smile get bigger as I continued reading. He blushed. It was as if he could see himself through my eyes of love, and look at himself through a different lense. But he also saw our love in a different light. Things that needed healing in our relationship began to mend. The love letter was like a prescription from God.

I suggest to each of you that you write a “love letter list” this Valentines Day to the one you love. There is nothing complicated about it. Simply make a list of everything you are thankful for about the person. The first items will be obvious ones. Then stop and go deeper. Nothing is too small to list. No matter how long the list (mine has 46 items) make it fit on one page and then he can fold it up and carry it in his wallet.

I would like to share my “love letter” with you so you can get ideas to make your own list with. Remember – men love lists that spell things out rather than flowery poetry.

The Things I Appreciate About Johnny

1. His love for me.

2. He works hard to give us a good life.

3. His brilliant mind.

4. His handsome good looks.

5. His love of family.

6. He “gets” me.

7. His thoughtfulness of my needs.

8. Standing by me during my experience with cancer.

9. The way he tries hard to please me.

10. His love for our animals.

11. He copes with my snoring and loves me despite that.

12. His problem solving abilities.

13. His love for his Southern heritage.

14. He is a good father.

15. He supports Scarlett’s dreams.

16. He always supported my wild ideas and crazy dreams.

17. He forgives my mistakes.

18. His trust in me.

19. His integrity and honesty.

20. The “little boy” in him that needs nurturing and understanding.

21. His love of life and passion he brought to everything he did.

22. His hatred of boredom.

23. His delight in good food which fostered my love of cooking.

24. His consideration of my parents and brothers.

25. The “macho man” inside him and his “macho needs.”

26. The “sports hero” inside him and his love of sports.

27. His financial and business genius.

28. His kindness.

29. His goodness.

30. His class as a Southern Gentleman.

31. His ability to meet anyone and find something in common with them no matter what level in life.

32. His appreciation of my creativity.

33. His ability to see through to the bottom line of anything.

34. His sense of humor.

35. His integrity.

36. His diverse interests in life.

37. He loves me despite me not being perfect.

38. His TLC when I am sick.

39. His sense of honor.

40. His humility in loving God.

41. His stories about his childhood.

42. His values and beliefs about not owing anyone.

43. His word and his promises count.

44. His insight into the world and ability to prognosticate.

45. His detailed knowledge of history.

46. He makes me feel safe.

I hope that this Valentine’s Day you will remember to include the greatest love in the universe from which all else flows. The love of our Lord in the midst of any relationship will help it bloom and grow into a legacy that is truly eternal for generations to come. Think back to words recited on your wedding day. You wanted your love to last forever. What better day to renew your vows than Valentine’s Day. This year make it about more than diamonds and flowers and chocolate. Make it about true love. Make a "love list" for your sweetheart.

Beautiful Blessings from Our Hearts to Yours,

Rene and Johnny Williams


Laura Lu said...

simply beautiful. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rene...what a special gift to give a loved one, I am getting married next Friday, so we decided to lay low this Valentine's Day and just do a simple dinner and just be with each other as we approach the sacrament of Marriage to each other. I always try and think of little creative things to do for Landon and I tend to list many things in cards I write to him for occasions, but this takes it to another level. Thank you for sharing. I hope today is a good day for you all. God Bless!

Erin Poticny

Unknown said...

such a beautiful list Rene, and such a beautiful idea. I can see why Scarlett is such an amazing person. you are all in my prayers.


Missy said...

Hi, I have been following your blog, but have never posted before. I love the love list and plan to do one for my husband of 15 years this Valentines. Your writing is amazing and your faith and insight in this difficult time give me strength.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I just read this and wept. I'm going to do this for my husband. Thank you, Rene, for reminding me how much I take for granted. You and Scarlett have been in my prayers and will continue to be. I just love that daughter of yours!