As adults, I think we tend to dismiss children’s shows / books as merely that: shows for the naive physically and in spirit, the young in mind and heart. What we often forget is that these shows and books are written by adults and at times can offer a wealth of wisdom from people we would normally never have a chance to interact with on a personal level. Take Winnie The Pooh for example, created by English author A. A. Milne for his son, Christopher Robin Milne. Milne created Winnie The Pooh as bed time stories for his son, whose stuffed animals were the inspiration for the characters in Winnie The Pooh.
While many of the themes surrounding children stories can seem trivial, the authors of some of the most popular children’s books were trying to convey themes and lessons of love, forgiveness, friendship, etc. to the children . . . and adults . . . who would read them. For example, Shel Silverstein‘s The Giving Tree taught us about true love and friendship, even when one side of the relationship is neglected. Dr. Seuss stories like How The Grinch Stole Christmas taught us that even the smallest gesture of kindness can soften the hardest of hearts. In the Winnie The Pooh stories, we often learn about the importance of friendship and care for one another. Regarding Piglet’s question to Pooh bear and his response in the meme, we learn about love.
Piglet innocently asks Winnie how to spell love, and Pooh responds with wisdom when he says, “You don’t spell it. You feel it.”
There’s a lot to take from that. Yes, we can spell love, but the essence of Pooh’s words is that love is a feeling that is inside our hearts, which we and others can recognize by our outward expressions. So for me, while love technically can be spelled, simply spelling it is an empty gesture. We need to feel it within our hearts, our souls. The bible says, “That out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45. When we love someone, they know we love by how we treat them. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Cor. 13:4-7, “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.” And Jesus demonstrated His love for us by dying on the cross for us.
Love is a tricky emotion and can often be confused with lust – or at least a cheap, superficial form of love. But love transcends it in every way. A person may lust after another, but if they are unwilling to sacrifice for them, than it is not love. I know I love others like by family, my wife, etc. because I would sacrifice my well-being for them. And if I lost them, it would hurt immensely – as if they were missing from my heart. While ultimately only we know what is truly in our hearts, whether it is truly love or not. Our actions can accurately measure our love for another person.
That is what is so great about real love. It can be expressed. It can be touched. It can be displayed. It can be felt by others. And in some sense, it can be put into writing for others to read about. We can “spell” love with out actions. To illustrate this point, it is interesting that although A. A. Milne showed so much wisdom through Winnie The Pooh in regards to love, the same love didn’t seem to be expressed between him, his wife, and his son. They had a strained relationship, which did not demonstrate love at all, though, I would say it expressed the yearning for love we all desire.
So how do you spell love? Have you ever felt it? How do you express it?