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One of my favorite Southern expressions describes how much one person loves another: “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”

Recently Ray and I had the opportunity to visit with a friend who lights up a room even from her bed in the nursing home. I’ll call this 90-year-old friend Ruby. Ruby had been feeling unwell that day and was lying down in her bed. She patted for me to sit down on the bed beside her and drew me to her for a hug. While I continued sitting in the seat she had designated for me, she made sure that I was comfortable. “I can hold my knees up,” she said, “You can lean against me.”

At one point during the visit, Ruby looked out her window, smiled, and said, “I see the prettiest sunsets.”

Sunset over Roaring River near Gainesboro, Tennessee

On another recent occasion, Ruby verbalized her love for Ray and me with words so precious they surpass even “a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” With kind and touching sincerity, she said, “I love you so much I could cry.”

One of our many roles as daughters of our heavenly King is to be sincere people lovers who love a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, who love so much we could cry, and who communicate that love in ways that are unmistakable.

Since you have in obedience to the truth
purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren,
fervently love one another from the heart,
for you have been born again not of seed
which is perishable but imperishable,
that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:23

Jesus teaches us how.

We love, because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19


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