Love Is…

During the 1970’s my grandmother clipped “Love is” cartoons from the daily newspaper. Just in case you don’t remember  (or if you are too young to know what I am talking about) it was a cartoon created by Kim Casali. The cartoons originated from a series of love notes that Grove drew for her future husband, Roberto Casali. One of her most famous drawings, “Love Is…being able to say you are sorry”, published on February 9, 1972, was marketed internationally for many years in print, on cards and on souvenirs. At the height of their popularity in the 1970s the cartoons were earning Casali 4 to 5 million annually.

When my grandmother died my cousin and I found hundreds of these cartoons in my grandmother’s dresser. They had been perfectly clipped from the paper and placed in neat little stacks and rubber banded together.

Grandma Layne

My grandmother’s mother died when she was just a little girl and with some help from aunts and cousins, my great-grandfather raised my grandmother and her two sisters. Grandma married in her 20’s and almost immediately began caring for her mother-in-law. It couldn’t have been easy to raise 3 children of her own (my mother was the middle child) and care for a wheel-chair bound mother-in-law, but grandma was an unusual woman.

Philipians 2:14 says, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Grandma didn’t just read the Bible every day. She lived it. I never heard her complain or argue with anyone….ever. She lived to be 89 years old and she was one of the kindest, most gentle women I have ever known.

In keeping with the “Love is” theme I wanted to share a few ways Grandma Layne (Grandpa’s name was Layne-thus she was Grandma Layne) taught her children and grandchildren what “Love is.”

Love is….

-Not just reading the Bible, but living it.

-Taking care of those who can’t care for themselves without complaining.

-Being content with what we have and who we are.

-Rocking a child, grand-child and great-grandchildren to sleep and covering them with hand sewn quilts and whispered prayers.

-Knowing that God is love. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1st John 4:8

Where Love Comes From

My mother’s favorite chapter in the Bible was 1 Corinthians 13 and I never read that chapter without thinking about her and my grandmother. Especially verses 4-7; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Grandma Layne didn’t have an easy life. My grandfather died in 1976 and she lost two of her three children before her death. My mother died in 1990 and one of my uncles died the next year. She was heart broken but she didn’t let her loss break her spirit. She continued to conduct herself and her life in the same quiet, confident way she always had, by going to church, reading her Bible daily and taking care of others.

Somehow it seems very appropriate that my grandmother clipped those cartoons and kept them, because her life defined what “love is.”