Some years ago a friend named Louis related to me a tender account about his gentle, soft-spoken mother. When she passed away, she left to her sons and daughters no fortune of finance but rather a heritage of wealth in example, in sacrifice, in obedience.
After the funeral eulogies had been spoken and the sad trek to the cemetery had been made, the grown family sorted through the meager possessions the mother had left. Among them, Louis discovered a note and a key. The note instructed: “In the corner bedroom, in the bottom drawer of my dresser, is a tiny box. It contains the treasure of my heart. This key will open the box.”
All wondered what their mother had of sufficient value to place under lock and key.
The box was removed from its resting place and opened carefully with the aid of the key. As Louis and the others examined the contents of the box, they found an individual photo of each child, with the child’s name and birth date. Louis then pulled out a homemade valentine. In crude, childlike penmanship, which he recognized as his own, he read the words he had written 60 years before: “Dear Mother, I love you.”
Hearts were tender, voices soft, and eyes moist. Mother’s treasure was her eternal family. Its strength rested on the bedrock foundation of “I love you.”
In today’s world, nowhere is that bedrock foundation of love needed more than in the home. And nowhere should the world find a better example of that foundation than in the homes of Latter-day Saints who have made love the heart of their family life.
To those of us who profess to be disciples of the Savior Jesus Christ, He gave this far-reaching instruction:
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”1
If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with compassion and respect, showing our love in day-to-day interactions. Love offers a kind word, a patient response, a selfless act, an understanding ear, a forgiving heart. In all our associations, these and other such acts help make evident the love in our hearts.
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) observed: “Love … is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it is more than the end of the rainbow. Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arches across the sky on a stormy day. Love is the security for which children weep, the yearning of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage, and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, church, and neighbors.”2
Love is the very essence of the gospel, the noblest attribute of the human soul. Love is the remedy for ailing families, ill communities, and sick nations. Love is a smile, a wave, a kind comment, and a compliment. Love is sacrifice, service, and selflessness.
Husbands, love your wives. Treat them with dignity and appreciation. Sisters, love your husbands. Treat them with honor and encouragement.
Parents, love your children. Pray for them, teach them, and testify to them. Children, love your parents. Show them respect, gratitude, and obedience.
Without the pure love of Christ, Mormon counsels, “[we] are nothing.”3 My prayer is that we may follow Mormon’s counsel to “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that [we] may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him.”4