I was getting in the car at the Y after our water aerobics class, waiting for my husband, Phil. Then I noticed a shiny shiny leaf that had fallen from a Bradford pear tree nearby. As I picked up the multicolored leaf I marveled at how it brightly displayed every shade of red imaginable. Red, burgundy, ruby, cherry, crimson, cranberry all intertwined in the heart-shaped leaf. It also gave me a precious teaching about love and giving.
It was an out-of-season Valentine on a stem, a love note from God. The blood red of the leaf was his blood, shed for me, the stem a reminder to stay connected and not let go of this love leaf. I marveled at this unexpected and affirming stroke of love of a mighty God for me; a gift offered from his beautiful creation.
A few minutes later Phil got into the car. I showed him the leaf and then impulsively gave it to him as a symbol of my love for him. I didn’t need to keep the love leaf. The love it brought me from God was now in my heart. The connection was an unbreakable heart connection. Love compelled me to give it away. I could create no greater way to express God’s love than to allow it spontaneously to overflow to others. For love to remain a gift, it must be given away.
When God gives us an extraordinary sign of his love hidden in a particle of his creation we can receive it with all the unconditionally love he offers us. God packed an eternity of love into that moment. We have only a brief earthly moment to share that gift with those he gives us to love.
What sign of God’s love can you give away to a loved one?
(© 2012 updated 2016 Nancy HC Ward)