When I was eight years old, I had a crush on Karen Turley. She was a cute third grader – blond hair and blue eyes- who lived one street over. Sometimes I would ride my bike past her house in hopes of catching a glimpse of her (I know – today, that would stalking!). To say the least, I was smitten.
Being the new kid in the neighborhood, freshly transplanted from the ranch and small town life, I wasn’t sure about the codes of conduct when it came to expressing interest in such a wonderful feminine creature. But Valentine’s Day was approaching, and I knew an expression of my affection was required.
I asked my mother to get me a bag of M & M’s to give to Karen. I hoped this 10 cent bag of candy would open her heart to me – or at least, get me in the door to play. My mother, either out of pity, compassion, or a desire to learn hard lessons in the realm of romance, procured the candy, and off I went on my bike.
On the short trip to her house, it dawned on me that a whole bag of M & M’s was an awful lot of candy. In fact, a dainty creature like Karen probably couldn’t eat the whole bag. Besides, I wasn’t sure if I really liked her enough to give her the whole bag of candy. So I decided to open the bag and remove some of the candy, and eat it myself.
When I arrive at her house, I went up, rang the doorbell and waited. Mrs. Turley answered the door. I asked for Karen, who came to the door with her lovely blond hair and her pretty blue eyes. I gave her the half eaten bag of M & M’s, told her “Happy Valentine’s Day,” turned red, and ran off.
Mrs. Turley thought it was funny and called my mother to tell her so. My mother explained to me that girls like to be treated special and have whole bags of M & M’s. Karen Turley, through nine more years of school together, never spoke to me again.
That day, I learned the difference between “like” and “love” – to like someone means you give some; to love someone means you give all.
If I had paid closer attention at church, I probably would have learned this sooner. We used to sing a song, “Jesus Paid it All.” God certainly had a thing or two to teach me about love.