Like things, love people.

Things in life that matter most are rarely things.

Many moons ago, long before there was such a thing as an internet meme,

long before there was even such a thing as the internet,

I had an original thought.

I’m convinced that since then, it has been stolen, and happily so.

A father of three now grown and wonderful children, I have always been an advocate of teaching them important maxims to live by such as “do good in school,” “use the crosswalk” and “don’t do drugs.” Okay, well, I taught them other important things like “obey the law,” “save for retirement”…

This intro is not going well.

Many moons ago, I taught my young children this simple truth:

Like things and Love people.

How and when it occurred to me I couldn’t say, but since they were babies, apt to fall in love with their toys, I preached it. I’m fairly certain that I preached it so much, my tombstone will one day be inscribed with it. Many decades later, the saying is plastered all over the internet and I’m reasonably sure it began with me.

I failed miserably as a father and a role model. But I never got my “likes” and “loves” mixed up.

Love, the most important word in any language, loses its meaning and power when expressed to an inanimate object. Practically speaking, you can’t “love” or express the sentiment of devotion and commitment to something which by nature cannot hear it, appreciate it nor return it. A misapplication of this magnitude is a tragic error of the human vernacular. Love is not a colloquialism. It is not so cheap as to be applied to a banana or an Iphone. Bananas go brown. Iphones crack and die and neither has a soul. We throw them away or trade them in for new ones, only to express the same erroneous sentiment and devotion over and over again.

But Love.

Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth was written from a hellish jail, yet perfectly defines the uniquely human aspect of the object of love. We’ve no need to be patient, kind or selfless with a banana. We may like them a lot but we eat them at will and can stick one in our armpits if we want and the banana suffers no loss or shame.

To my defense, I “liked” drugs for eight years, but never loved them.

However, I have ALWAYS loved my children, even when I was spending time liking drugs more than loving my kids. Liking something is a temporal thing. It’s a changing taste that tosses aside the previous when something better comes along like a pumpkin spice latte.

Loving, however, is about a heart commitment and an emotion for someone that doesn’t change when they get ugly, act mean, cause pain, seem to lose flavor, or if I dare risk it, if they do drugs.

The one thing I did well as a father was to teach my kids to Like things and Love people.

I’m pretty sure that somehow, having repeated those words so many times so many moons ago helped them to forgive even me and love me anyway for all those years I was absent from their lives, liking meth.

Now, with another clean and sober anniversary just around the corner, I’m reminded of the time I was haunted and hunted down by my own lesson that saved my life.

Things in life that matter most are rarely things unless they can also love you back.

So, if you love this story, you already missed the point. Press like and try again.

Things in life that matter most are rarely things.


2 thoughts on “Like things, love people.

  1. I vaguely remember conversations like this when we were Tweens! Funny how thoughts written can spur memories. Another great article that I know your wonderful kids will love…

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