My mother-in-law, Brenda, and I were having breakfast in Fairfield, CT last week.  The twins spent the night at my sister-in-law’s apartment so Brenda – or Brendela as I fondly call her – and I had a rare opportunity to talk.

She’s a special lady, my mother-in-law.  Meeting her you’d never know she survived the loss of her son and husband within two years; she is as kind and strong as they come.

We began to talk about empathy.  The subject came up because I was sharing about a remarkable book I recently read called Jantsen’s Gift .  The book tells the real-life story of Pam Cope, a hairdresser from Missouri who lost her teenage son from an undetected heart ailment. Spurred by her grief, Pam has gone on to rescue hundreds of children from slavery, prostitution and other evils in Ghana, Cambodia and Vietnam. Any mother (or any person!) who has ever experienced loss will be moved by Pam’s courage. The story took my breath away.

Back to my mother-in-law, who, naturally, was quite impressed by Pam Cope and wanted to read the book. “You know, Brendela, told me while sipping her coffee, “I love when I love.”  She had a warm smile on her face, and her words pierced me.

“Yes,” I thought. “She’s absolutely right.”  I, too, love when I love.  It makes my whole heart full.  When I’m in this mindset, I look past the piles of clothes that need folding and pay attention to the way the grass looks so lush and how the leaves of the aspen trees swaying outside my bedroom window tickles my skin like a warm feather.

Quickly, I found myself expanding upon my mother-in-law’s kitchen table wisdom.

I love when I live and I live when I love.

Thanks, Brendela, for this inspiration. You’re a good egg.

Love is Full: Brenda and the twins

Love is Full: Brenda and the twins

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