"Thank You"..."I Love You"

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I've been meaning to post this for a while, and of course reading a friend's blog inspired me to do so.

I play poker. I read poker magazines. But this isn't about poker. One article I read quite some time ago was about a Swedish player, Martin De Knijff, who had won the World Poker Tour Championship. I thought the man had genuine smile and great charisma, and I enjoyed watching him win; but it was something his son said, by accident, that stuck with me even more. I'll let the article's author explain:

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Allyn Jaffrey Shulman

CardPlayer Magazine

Vol. 17, No. 11

published Wednesday, May 12th, 2004

I was fortunate enough to meet Martin's young son, Robin, who joined Martin for our interview. It was the first time I had met either of them, and I found Martin to be a kind, unusually warm, and humble man, who laughs easily and is comfortable to be around. Robin sat on Martin's lap as they often smiled, chuckled softly, and whispered in Swedish. There was a tenderness and closeness between Father and Son, who obviously adored one another's company.

When I asked Martin what he would like the world to know about him, he said simply: "That I love my son and I am a devoted father."

Robin doesn't speak much English, but the things he says are pronounced perfectly. Robin was hungry, so I gave him a snack, and when he was done, he threw away the wrapper like a well-mannered, sweet little boy. I said: "Thank you, honey." Well, little Robin was trying to use all the English words he could remember. He smiled, nodded, and responded: "I love you." Martin and I immediately started giggling, and then Martin explained to Robin in Swedish that he had mixed up the phrase "You're welcome" with the phrase "I love you." Even though Robin doesn't know much English, I was exclaiming my glee, clapping for him and giving him the thumbs-up sign, saying that I thought it should be required that when one person says "Thank you," the other should always respond with "I love you." What a great innovation. People would walk around smiling! Little Robin laughed out loud and ran upstairs shrieking, "Thank you. I love you," to which I responded in kind.

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I must agree with Mrs. Shulman. When we do something for someone, however large or small a task, it should be done with love. We are instructed so in the Bible, of course, to "Do everything in love." (1 Cor 16:14) And why wouldn't we? Why shouldn’t we? When we care for one another, life is just simply better. Sure, sometimes it takes more effort to choose to act lovingly than our natural reaction, but I think everyone who has felt love can agree that love feels better.

So when someone passes me the salt, or gifts of me a guitar for Christmas, or covers my shift at work, or when a stranger holds open a door...it's an act of love. Sure, they may not see it that way. It may be done out of politeness, or obligation, or social convention. But it SHOULD be done out of love...basic love, the love of human kindness. And deep down, sometimes subconsciously, perhaps it is.

So an expression of appreciation is the polite response to such an action, and we often hear "Thank You." Thus, "You're welcome" is the socially accepted (English) response. But doesn't "I love you" also fit? Isn't that the extended underlying thought? I do this out of love, therefore, why should I not shrug like it was no effort, it was my pleasure to do so, I did it to show God's love to you; in effect because "I love you."

"Thank you."

"I love you."

Try it some time. Sure, it'll feel weird when you try it. Sure, if you say it to a coworker, they might freak out. Maybe try it out in your family, or with someone who knows you love them otherwise. That might be...safer.