“I love you Shea.”
If you stood outside the walls of my apartment, you would hear this phrase coming from inside. You would hear it often. It is said with great passion and energy.
You would also hear baby talk that follows. At nine-months, Shea says it back in the way she can communicate. She babbles, matching the syllables with her own, unique sound.
I recently wonder what this means to her. I know love by a feeling. So, I tried to tell her.
As she watched my lips move, she probably did not comprehend much of what I said. Like a foreign language, she intently followed along with little understanding.
But in the depth of my heart, I knew she knew. She could feel the love by feeling safe. She feels love because her needs are met, and that she is often greeted with a smile and hugs. She knows love because love is not meant to be words. It is greater than that. It is a glance from eyes to eyes, an embrace, an encounter.
Try explaining what love is and you will end up describing it with feelings. It isn’t science or logical equation. It is love.
The Catholic Church, with its foundation in the Gospel of John, teaches that God is love.
To know love, is to know God. To know God, is to know love.
So, when I feel love in my daughter, I feel God. When my daughter feels love in me, she feels God.
What a wonderful, mystical truth. God, like love, cannot be captured in words. It is why I love that in the Jewish faith, God is spelt G_D, because it would be disrespectful to write the holiest of names and then disregard the paper or document it was written on (there are other theories as well).
No words can describe God, but you can feel God. Like the wind, it is an energy that moves through us and around us. Like love, it is to be experienced.
So, my daughter may not be able to understand the analogies or descriptions that I can provide. She doesn’t have to.
All she needs to know is that my wife and I love her, as well as her family and friends. Those words will reinforce the feelings that she we can only pray she continues to know as love and as God.