I’m reading Jacqueline Bussie’s new book, Love Without Limits. In her chapter on “A Mother’s Love [Charlotte],” she writes 40 love lessons from her mom…
(note: I’ve bolded my favorites)
1. Even if you are not a great singer, sing anyway. God will love the sound of your voice, simply because it is yours.
2. If it gets to be too much inside, go outside. The sun on your face feels like an “I’m sorry” from the world, or from God.
3. Always visit sick, old, dying, and hurting people. Most people avoid looking hardship in the face, but you must always sit down beside it and look it straight in the eye.
4. Everyone just wants to be loved. It’s always within your power to give this to people, even when you don’t feel it yourself.
5. Even if you didn’t get to have/see/do it, you can still create a world in which your children might.
6. Always put a little lipstick on in the car at the first red light. Smiles need to be seen.
7. If you make a promise, keep it. Forever is forever, even if it hurts.
8. Never lend money, but instead give it away—especially to those who have less than you. The love of money is a slave trader who will auction off the souls of the people you love.
9. Showing a person that you remember what they love is how you love them.
10. Grow something—roses, tomatoes, a child. Growing whatever you can helps sadness sprout a parachute so it descends slower upon the afternoon.
11. We are our wounds—but we can be so much more than them.
12. When on vacation, eat pie for breakfast. You might never have another chance.
13. If someday I forget everything, even myself, love asks you to remember me.
14. Cherish old things. Antiques bear the price tag of someone’s memories. This goes for people as well as things.
15. Enjoy the company of older folks. You might not make it to be their age, and if not, now is the only moment you have to learn from them.
16. Love means feeding other people day after day, even when they don’t say thank you.
17. Go to church. Church is where, unlike in your own house, hymns happen. Church is where, unlike in your own house, you are trusted with the money and the books.
18. Talk to your plants as you would your kids. Your breath helps them grow.
19. It is possible to give birth to a child you will feel, one day, like you do not know at all. If, God forbid, this happens to you, know you are not alone.
20. Love other people the way you have never been loved by them.
21. It is always worth getting up at 5:00 a.m. and driving forty-five minutes to the beach, because the sunrise needs a witness. If the sun can climb back up on its feet to fight the storms and smog for one more day, so can you.
22. Getting up early feels good and is the only time your house feels like yours.
23. Never fall asleep until the last person you love finally comes home.
24. Mothers are the world’s best cheerleaders.
25. Make it your goal every day to make everyone around you feel comfortable in their own skin.
26. Tuck a special not in your child’s lunch box—”Have a great day at school! Love you, Mom.” Best. Portable. Dessert. EVER.
27. Don’t reward your children’s good grades with money or celebration. Good work is its own reward.
28. Love your body and listen to it. On vacation and weekends, let children sleep as late as their bodies need. The body never lies.
29. As hard as you try, sometimes in life it is not possible to get close to your parents, or even to know them. Avoid blame.
30. Do your best to love where you live. But forgive yourself if sometimes you have to head south.
31. A mother’s work is never done.
32. Let your child choose to play the instrument she wants. Tell her only after she has decided on the clarinet for herself that you used to play it too.
33. Even if your own wings don’t work, you can still teach your child to fly. This is the definition of miracle.
34. If you go on a vacation and while you are gone your lawyer neighbor steals the sapling that you just planted in your backyard and plants it in his own, don’t get mad. Instead, plant roses along the fence that divides your lawn from his. In time, their buds will grow so thick you will no longer have to look upon what you lost.
35. Beauty and kindness are the best revenge.
36. Grow a garden; it can teach you how to live. There are three secrets too gardening. One, a patient yearning for color. Two, a desire to catch the earth being good. And three, a relentless belief in transformation.
37. Value your education. Being a student is the greatest privilege you will ever have. Not all are so lucky.
38. When in doubt, sing hymns.
39. When all is said and done, faith in God is the only safe hand to bet the entire kitty on.
40. Wear other people’s joy like a fine fur. Nothing looks more beautiful on you.
* * *
Which ones are your favorite?