In 1612, Mumtaz Muhal, a teenaged girl, married the 15 year old Shah Jahan who was the ruler of the Mughal Empire. They had a beautiful marriage that included fourteen children. Jahan’s wife died after 17 years of marriage. The emperor, in his grief, decided to create a monument in his wife’s memory. It took nearly 20 years, 20,000 workers and 1000 elephants to construct the Taj Mahal. It was built of white marble and lavishly decorated in turquoise and colored marble. The exterior was created by using semi-precious stones. It was all an extraordinary avenue to prove loyalty and love.
Loyalty and devotion that prove someone’s value to you and its expression is the crux of human integrity. Being loyal to your children, parents, friends, spouse, siblings and your pets is the proof to yourself and others that the true essence of human nature is goodness. Or so we hope. It is where conscience overrules selfishness. It is stepping outside of yourself to care about others in a way that surpasses your own needs. The great return is in knowing that you have touched someone’s heart by proving that you care. It does not necessarily have to come in the form of white marble and semi-precious stones to be proven. Loyalty doesn’t have to be lavish or grandiose. It can be ever more beautiful in the simplest of ways, perhaps, even more dazzling!
I had an inquisitive desire to prove the point that simple measures can far outweigh the materialistic gifts that are provided in all types of relationships with loved ones. So… I sent out an email en masse to my friends asking about the small measures in their lives where love is proven. I was touched by the responses that only backed up the point that turquoise and colored marble is not necessary when proving love. Here is a sampling of the feedback:
* “Every night as my husband is locking up and getting ready to come upstairs to bed, he sweetly asks me if he can get me anything from the kitchen. 99% of the time, I say no, but he always continues to ask. I am so lucky!!!!”
* “My favorite thing to do at night is to curl up on the sofa to watch TV. The first thing my husband does is to find my throw and put it over me. At the beach he usually has to go upstairs to get it, but he always manages to see that I am comfortable. He is my comfort zone.”
* “My fondest memories are of my husband of 35 years cooking a special meal for me.”
* “One of my favorite things that my husband does if I have to leave early in the morning is to leave “I love you” sticky notes everywhere. He puts them on the bathroom mirror, the kitchen cabinets, the coffee cup, or in my car.”
* “My husband started rubbing my feet during my pregnancy. He still does it. He also brings me a cup of coffee every morning (1 sweet n low, little cream) and leaves it on the bathroom counter while I’m showering. I love his kindness. He kisses me hello every day after work when he’s in town.”
* “My husband turns the bed down for me every night, turns on my heating pad and brings me a glass of wine. I love to buy Sonic tea for him and cook breakfast for him every morning.”
* “My husband and I always kiss whenever we are leaving each other’s presence and just before we go to sleep each night. Every time we do it, he always says, “I love you.” We’ve been married for 44 years!
* “My husband and I have been married for 35 years. When I am headed home after a tough day, he has a hot Jacuzzi waiting for me with my favorite refreshment on the counter and dinner on the table. In the summertime, he’ll call me and say, “Meet me on the 10th hole as soon as you can.” He loves to blow dry my hair and massage my head. He cuddles me when I need to cry, too.”
* “My better half meets me at the door after a long working day. It is so nice to see his smiling face in the doorway. He will have vacuumed the floors, done the laundry, cooked dinner and fed the dogs. We always hold hands. When I had my surgeries, he washed my hair and braided it for me at night.”
* “My mom has dementia and depression. To cheer her up, I bought her a fish that she promptly named Buddy. It gives her a lot of pleasure to watch it throughout the day. My daughter, with a faithful love, goes over every Friday to change the water for her grandmother’s fish.”
* “My mother is in a nursing home with dementia. I go to see her every day, though I know that as soon as I walk out the door, she doesn’t know I was there. When she see me, she throws her arms in the air and smiles like she hasn’t seen me in 10 years. Sometimes, she shouts out, “I just love you!” I will sit and talk and tell her the same thing I told her the day before. I know that if I never came back she wouldn’t really miss me, but because I love her so much, I come back every day. My father brings her flowers, holds her hand and talks to her just like old times.
These stories of love are proof positive that love does not have to come in the form of lavish marble and grandiose, semi-precious stones to be proven. Love can be far more dazzling in the form of sticky notes, sweet kisses, a fish, and valuable time spent sitting by our loved one’s side.
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