In February many celebrate “love” on Valentine’s day. They commemorate their couple status with presents and/or dinner. Some feel unloved or lonely if they do not have a boo, but “true love” is many-faceted. This month I invite you to discuss with me instances and examples of various kinds of “true love.” Your wisdom will enrich us all.

Let’s begin our month’s discussion of “true love” with what I call loving up. It is natural that parents’ and grandparents’ love flow down through the generations. Often, children and grandchildren are ready recipients of this love and all of its benefits, but do not make a conscious effort to show love back.  

I could not find a scripture that specifically commanded children to love their parents or grandparents; to let their love flow upward. That may be because love must be given freely by one who is willing to pay the price to show love. Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:12-13).

My grandchildren are wonderful examples of loving upward without begging, coercing, or guilting. Let me give you a few examples:

  • I love the African Fest in Forest Park and try to attend every year. This summer my children were out of town, but three of my grandchildren (25, 16, and 10 years old) picked me up, took me to the festival, catered to my needs, and brought me home safely. Loving up.
  • Exhausted, I planned to spend a month at my daughter’s home in Georgia, but I was too tired to drive. My 24-year-old grandson took several days off from his two jobs to drive me there, make sure I was settled in, and flew back home. Loving up.
  • At a writer’s conference we were instructed to pick three social media outlets to build a platform. While in Georgia my 23-year-old grandson set up twitter and taught me to use it, discussed my Facebook usage options, and shared how I could optimize my website. Loving up.
  • I was facing a stressful medical procedure. My 25-year-old granddaughter drove me there, discussed what might happened, and made sure I was tucked in when she brought me home. Loving up.
  • “Granny, will you come to my party. The ten-year-old was turning eleven and he wanted his grandmother to be one of the celebrants. Loving up.
  • Today, my body is complaining: achy and stiff. This week, the Mid-America was hit with sub-zero temperatures. I needed to pick up medication from the pharmacy, but my body did not want to cooperate. My sixteen- year-old granddaughter braved the weather to get it for me. Loving up.

We short-change ourselves when we equate the love of a spouse or significant other as the only valuable love. It is a gift from God that warms the heart when the grandchildren go out of their way to show love upward.  I am sure you have examples of loving up also. Please share with us.