Love-o-SAUR: Four lessons in love



Imagine we are not exactly where we are, but instead, we are in some cosmic music academy—a large, beautiful room filled with the most beautiful, shiny french horns.

And, imagine that in this magic world, I did my best to encourage growth, minimize shame, and love when learners are learning.

(That last part, as you’ve gotten to know me some, should be easy enough to imagine.)

In this mystic world, I explain how to hold the least-easy-to-learn brass instrument: your right hand in the bell; each of the first three fingers of your left hand on one of the visible valves; and your left thumb on the large valve on the bottom. (Your left pinky is steadying a lot of the weight of the 12+ feet of brass tubing.)

What would you imagine you would want to do next?


Make a sound!

Of course.

Go for it!

(It will sound horrible. Unless you’ve played the trumpet or conch shell, in which case it will only sound bad.)

I imagine that you, and others, would be laughing, knowing that your competence is far below expectations.

Do you imagine I would shame you (or anyone) for not being able to play as well as I can after three and a half-years of practice?

Is shame warranted when you are not perfect?

Is shame warranted when you do not have A-level, five out of five proficiency at a task?

Allow me to answer: no.

Beloved friend,

In case you aren’t A-level, five out of five proficient at loving yourself or others, I’d love to help teach you.

(Just keep reading these articles and come to the Saturday Service. And, if you want 1:1 help, email me and let’s set something up.)


Draw a LOVE-O-SAUR here:

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**                                                **

**                                                **

**.                                               **

**                                                **

**                                                **

**                                                **

**                                               **

**                                               **

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As no one knows exactly what a LOVE-O-SAUR looks like, your drawing, most assuredly, will be perfect.

Take a moment to consider this if you find yourself arguing and wonder why.

I’ve asked many 5-year-olds to draw a LOVE-O-SAUR.

None have had much difficulty completing this task.

Are you going to try to convince me that you aren’t capable of drawing a LOVE-O-SAUR?


Please, please send me a copy of your work and/or post it to the ROTB clubhouse so that I (and others) can be proud of you.

Do you feel funny about me being proud of you in this situation? It seems about the same as me being proud of you for trying to play an instrument you’ve never practiced. No?


What SAUR means when it comes to love.

Dr. Logan Fox taught a behaviorist definition of love.

He taught that love of people is SAUR—seeing people, accepting them, understanding them, and responding to them.

S.  eeing
A.  ccepting
U.  nderstanding
R.  esponding

Enter the mythical—and larger than life—LOVE-O-SAUR.


To love someone is to see them.

Seeing them means paying attention to them, acknowledging that they are in your presence and that they are important to you.

It also means not being distracted by electronics when you’re with them or ignoring them in some unloving way.

One of the worst things you can do to someone is to make them feel invisible.

Perhaps you remember the feeling of being ignored from having the silent treatment perpetrated on you as a child; it takes your existence away.

Not seeing someone can destroy them in a personal, hurtful way.

Love means letting the other know that you see them for who they are.


The act of acceptance is taking someone as they are.

Allowing them to be who they are without trying to make them over into someone else.

This reminds me of a joke I sometimes make when I am performing a wedding for a hetero-normative couple: The first thing the bride sees is the aisle, then the altar, and then her future husband. What a terrible thing for the bride to think: I’ll alter him. (It’s a really good joke. You’re welcome.)


It’s the key to all my problems today.


John-Roger and Paul Kaye wrote:

Accepting is not abetting, advocating, agreeing, aiding, approving, assisting, authenticating, authorizing, backing, complying, concurring, confirming, consenting, cultivating, encouraging, endorsing, furthering, liking, maintaining, permitting, promoting, ratifying, reinforcing, sanctifying, supporting, or sympathizing.


Spiritual acceptance of someone — true love of them — is saying, “You are who you are, and who you are is who I love.”


Understanding means having empathy – being able to see the world as the other person sees it.

Like with accepting, understanding doesn’t mean agreeing with another person. It means being willing to see the world through their eyes.

And then doing it.

Having compassion.

Understanding results in the other person not feeling like they are alone. And making certain that we don’t feel too separate from them. Understanding connects us.


Love is a verb. It compels us to act.

Certainly, love is an emotion and a feeling, but that’s not enough.

In order to truly be loved, the beloved must know they are loved.

Loving someone in secret might be nice, but it can’t compare with how much greater the love is when it’s expressed.

Responding is me giving Jane cards. Or me asking her for time together. Or me vacuuming — which I should probably do.

The five classic officially recognized love responses—love languages as collated by Gary Chapman—are: gifts, acts of service, quality time, physical touch, and words of affirmation. (But there are other actions too.)

Note: the person getting the love is the one who decides which type of love they wish to receive.


This week, see if you can SAUR yourself.

Remember, if you aren’t A-level, five out of five level proficient at it, there’s no need for shame.

And, if you like, tell me how it’s going.

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