“Lots of Ways to Say ‘I Love You,’” Friend, September 2023, 36–37.
This story took place in the USA.
“Let’s start our family council with a prayer,” Trina’s dad said.
Trina knelt beside her brothers and sisters while her brother Taylor said the prayer. Then they all sat back down.
“Mom and I want to talk about Adam,” Dad said. Trina’s brother Adam was a missionary. He left three months ago, and Trina missed him a lot.
“He’s coming home from his mission this week,” said Mom.
Trina gasped. Is he OK? she thought.
“What? How come?” asked Taylor.
“He’s been struggling with anxiety and depression,” Mom said. “That means he has a lot of worry and sadness that won’t go away. He’s going to get some help from doctors here, just like he would if he had broken his leg or gotten sick.”
Trina didn’t know what to say. She had friends whose siblings had come home early from their missions to get help from a doctor. Would Adam be OK?
“We want to do all we can to help Adam. Will you please pray to know how you can serve your brother?” asked Dad.
Trina and her siblings nodded.
“You can ask us any questions and tell us how you’re feeling anytime. We sure love you,” said Mom. Trina ran to hug her, and the rest of the family joined for a group hug.
Over the next few days, Trina thought about Adam. She prayed about what she could do for him. She thought of times when she felt worried or sad and how much her family had helped her. But anxiety and depression seemed like pretty big things.
“What can I do to help Adam?” Trina asked Mom.
“We can’t change what Adam is feeling,” Mom said. “But we can support him and show him we care.”
“We can love him!” said Trina.
Mom smiled and hugged her. “That’s the best thing we can do.”
Trina knew there were lots of ways to say “I love you,” even without saying it out loud. When her family did nice things for her or gave her a hug, she knew they loved her. Trina could do that for Adam!
Trina decided she could start showing love for Adam now. She used chalk to write a message for him on the sidewalk. She hid nice notes around the house. She helped her siblings make a sign. It said, “Welcome home, Elder Dawson! We love you!”
The next day Trina’s family went to the airport. Trina helped her siblings hold the sign they had made. When Adam walked through the gate, Trina and her family ran to hug him.
“I love you, Adam!” Trina said.
When they got home, Trina took Adam’s hand and led him to the sidewalk to see what she had written.
“‘We are so proud of you, Elder Dawson,’” read Adam. He looked up at their parents and siblings. “Thanks, everyone.” He squeezed Trina’s hand.
Adam left to put his suitcase in his room. When he came back, he was smiling. “Does anyone know who’s doing all the nice things around our house? I just found a secret note on my pillow.” He winked at Trina.
Trina grinned. She couldn’t wait to think of more ways to say “I love you”!