Radiant Joy Blog

How Sweet It Is to Be Loved!

On a summer weekend, I experienced feeling loved from three very different sources, each uplifting me greatly . . . and giving me an important message. I spent Friday evening, all day and evening on Saturday, and Sunday morning at a Holy Spirit conference, where the praise and worship music was incredibly moving. The preaching and teaching were “on fire,” motivating me to step up to being boldly courageous about sharing the love of God and penetrating my heart to receive his love and really know I’m loved. God’s love was poured out on us in songs, in mercy, in fellowship, in breaking bread together, and in silent moments of adoration. I left the conference on a cloud of peace, joy, and excitement.

A few hours later, my husband took me out to dinner at a brew pub on the way to a concert venue. It was one of only a few dinners out in recent years, and it was so lively and fun! A real date! We laughed and leisurely enjoyed each other’s company and conversation along with calamari, calzones, and hoagies we’d never make at home. Then we went to a much-anticipated James Taylor concert. I’ve loved his music since before the late ‘70s when I got to go to lunch with him, his then-wife Carly Simon, and their toddler daughter Sally! 

You see, James Taylor was the lead character in a personal favorite story — I was a young Realtor, and an agent of theirs had met me on a Westport, Connecticut, beach one day, working on my MLS notebook. He interviewed me and then arranged for me to show them some property — from mansions in Greenwich to ten-plus wooded acres in Weston. In the car, as I drove, Carly and James sang “You Are My Sunshine” to Sally — and I delighted in my private concert. But after lunch, Carly and Sally bailed, asking me to drop them at the train station to go back to New York while I showed James the raw land. I’d scoped out the land the day before, but my sense of direction and topographical map-reading skills are subpar. While James and I were somewhere in the middle of the property, it started to drizzle. James had wanted to see all the property lines, but the rain made him want to get out fast, and I was lost. It took a while to get back to my car, so we got wet. James said he had a concert the next night and his agent would kill him if he got a sore throat, so could we go back to my house where we could throw his jeans in the dryer so he wouldn’t have to ride the train back to NYC wearing wet clothes? I obliged, lending him a pair of my almost-as-tall-and-thin husband’s jeans while James’ were drying. It was all very innocent, but my favorite line in icebreaker games is, “James Taylor came to my house and took off his pants.”

Back to that recent Sunday — the concert was thrilling: a huge New Mexico event center full of fans, many of them with memories going back to the 70s; James’ voice sounding as good as ever; his All-Star band outstanding; intriguing staging with big screens for close-ups; new music as well as his classics. And at the end, the encore was three songs, even though the band tried to get him to exit the stage after the second song, “You Can Close Your Eyes,” a duet with his son Henry. The final song–at the nearly 3-hour mark–was “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You).” It was clear to us that James had enjoyed performing as much as the crowd enjoyed watching. Hearing that song felt like a love song from him to the audience. Tears fell from my eyes as I felt the love of God, of my husband, and of James Taylor and his heartfelt music, all three at the same time. #bountifullyblessed 

What led me to experience the love so tenderly, sweetly, and fully was not only being present to the love (that is, to them), but also hearing it spoken or sung out loud. Is there someone who’d be touched, maybe even transformed, by hearing you express your love out loud? Speak it! Declare it! So others can hear and receive it! And watch the spiritual law of correspondence manifest: what goes around comes around. 

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~Luke 6:38 (NIV)

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