The Joy of Loving and Being Loved

Today in church I taught a Sunday School lesson to my 12 and 13 year olds about loving others and loving those we teach (in whatever form this teaching takes). In Relief Society, the last Church meeting of the day, we talked about loving those of different faiths, religions, races, and creeds, about treating all like valued children of God.

It got me thinking about love and hate. There’s so much hate in this world, so much violence and loathing and enmity for what reason? Being different? Seeing the world and life in a different way? It’s incomprehensible. I’ve come to realize that hate is hard. It’s hard to hate a person; it takes work, requires effort, and tears your soul apart in the process.

Love is easy. Despite what the world would have us believe, loving is as easy as breathing. Because that other person is us. We might all be different, but we’re all basically the same: we’re all struggling to make sense out of life and be happy.

That may sound naive, but it doesn’t come from a place of naiveté. It comes from years of life, a life that has seen some horrible things. And some even more beautiful ones. I’ve spent the last year reading about World War II. And do you know what I feel after reading some 30-odd books detailing war and death and hatred? Hope. Because love won out. It always will.

But let me tell you about one experience where I felt love not just of my family or friends, but of the Lord himself. It was the day after my brother died and I felt torn apart and raw. After this tragic death, I felt alone in that unique way humans have — isolated while being surrounded by people. I prayed to Heavenly Father and told him that I needed something, someone in this moment.

Not 10 minutes later, my Relief Society president from Church stopped by with all her counselors. She didn’t know my brother died. She felt a prompting and listened to it. I learned that not only does God answer prayers, but that he is aware of me personally, that he loves me.

This woman might never read this, she might never know that the simple act of following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, of sharing her love with me, brought me happiness. She might never know that I feel a permanent gratitude and love for her. Forever. For this one simple act.

What does this all mean? Love. Love others, love yourself, and allow yourself to be loved. There is indescribable happiness in this. Hatred brings nothing but darkness and grief. Love, on the other hand, is light.

Choose Joy.


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