My sweet mother just visited for Christmas. I sat down in my comfy chair and noticed where she had scribbled down a relative’s name and  phone number. I would recognize her handwriting anywhere. All of the cards and letters written to me through the years (Whirley Shirley is a masterful card chooser!) are evidence of her beautiful, flowing cursive. Remember cursive?

Cursive is quickly becoming a thing of the past…

My handwriting will never be as beautiful as hers. I have a tendency to put a death grip on my pen. I try too hard.

As I taught my oldest children cursive, I would remind them that a loose grip would make their cursive flow easily. Yet, when I sit down with pen in hand to write a note in a card, I feel my grip getting tighter and tighter. I have to consciously remind myself to loosen up.

There is an entire science devoted to analyzing handwriting. I know as much about that as I do nuclear physics. I do know this, however, that I can recognize those closest to me by their handwriting.

My mother’s lovely cursive is reflective of her loosey-goosey personality that I love dearly. She doesn’t try too hard, no death grip on her pen. She is not worried about perfect loops or forgotten dots and crosses, but about her heart connecting with mine.

I have a box of cards and letters from her. Funny ones, ones that pull on my heart strings every time I read them.

I guess my cursive is reflective of me as well, messy most of the time, try-too-hard the rest.

I think love is a lot like cursive. It flows easier when we have a loose grip, when we don’t try too hard. The real beauty is not in the loops and swoops, it’s in the hand and heart of the writer.

I think sometimes our love gets sidetracked by our efforts to control and perfect it. We see filtered and edited versions of an anniversary trip or a mother/daughter moment and we begin to compare. We measure and judge our love for our husbands and children by our posts compared to those we see on Facebook and Instagram.

When I look through the stack of notes and cards made by my children when they were younger, I see unfiltered, unedited love. Words misspelled, letters reversed, some almost illegible, yet perfect. Stick figures with only four fingers and misshapen hearts covering a page, from the heart and hand of my child.

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I wouldn’t trade those pages for anything.

Sometimes our efforts to perfect and post our lives distracts us from really living it. We grip too tightly, we try too hard.

Love is not in the loops and swoops. It’s in the connections. Loosen up and love.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:8