I’ve been told I must have “talk to me” tattooed on my forehead in a type of ink easily visible to the lonely. It must be true because apparently Karen (not her real name) could read it.
It was only about a ten minute ride on the water taxi from the marina to the beach, but that was long enough. By the time we got off the pontoon boat, I knew Karen’s entire story: Where she’s lived for all 41 years of her marriage, how much she paid for her last three houses, the nature of her latest ailment, what she and her husband disagree about, the names and ages of each of her grandchildren, and … well, you get my drift. Me, a complete stranger.
The next day I went to an outdoor art festival with two friends. As I browsed the jewelry booth, a nearby shopper found earrings to match the necklace she was admiring. To my casual comment, “Must be your lucky day!”, she blurted out that she could use some good luck; her husband had died unexpectedly last week of a massive heart attack. She said she had come to the art festival hoping for a distraction from her crushing grief. Stunned, I touched her arm as I told her how sorry I was, my voice cracking. Again, I was a complete stranger.
Honestly, people are starving. While I don’t run into many people in my daily life who are lacking actual food (though they, too, are all around), I encounter many who are craving human connection. Show an interest in me, ask me about myself, pay attention, please see me and care, if only for a moment in this terribly impersonal place.
I listened to a podcast recently in which the man being interviewed, John Moorehead, is in the end-stages of lung cancer. Knowing he doesn’t have much time left, he has come to a very clear perspective on what’s important and it’s not our to-do lists. It’s what he calls the “love moments” we share with other people where, as we live out of the love of Jesus, we are able to bless them, no matter who they are, right where they are.
Moorehead quoted F.B. Meyer, who said, “Probably the only way to know the love of Christ is to begin to show it.” He explained that the soul that endeavors to show the love of Christ experiences the deep joy of receiving love even as they pass it on. “Christ’s love through you broadens, lengthens, deepens, and heightens, and you know the love of Christ, not just intellectually but experientially.”
Here’s where I go with this: Everything in me wants others to see the good in those I love and bless them for it: My Dad’s extravagant kindness and patience, my husband’s resourcefulness and courage, my daughter’s bright mind and soft heart, my sister’s determination to live in the center of God’s will (just to name a few). I’m sure you have people in your life you feel that way about, too.
The point is, when someone treats one of my loved ones well, it disrupts me in the best possible way and fills me with positivity and joy. It literally makes my day.
If I, in my human imperfection, respond that way, think of how it touches God when we slow down long enough to show kindness to or acknowledge one of His own. He values every single life: The toll taker. The landscape guy. The elderly man walking the beagle. We don’t know what they’re going through but He does.
That prompting to make eye contact, to act interested, to listen . . . that’s from Him. He wants that for them, and He wants it for you.
What if the people we cross paths with are not just chance encounters but divine appointments, “love moments” ordered by God Himself? What if she’s not just a lonely retiree or a new widow but someone God wants to bless and He has chosen you to do it? I sure don’t want to miss that but I’m afraid I often do.
We can get better at it. Max Lucado says, “The secret to loving is living loved.”
We are deeply valued by the Creator of the universe, of that we can be sure. As we learn to live from the certainty of that love, we can bless others and thrill the very heart of God.
We’re all starving for love moments.
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- Maybe This Will Help - February 10, 2017
- I’m Firing Olivia Pope - January 24, 2017
- I’m crossing some things off my list this year - January 11, 2017
- I learned a new word - November 30, 2016
- The best question I’m asking myself these days - July 18, 2016
- A tragic story with a tender twist - May 17, 2016
- Gosh, people are a mess - May 12, 2016
- I’ll take the red carnation, thank you – revisiting an odd tradition - May 2, 2016
- The surprising thing about “weakness” - April 20, 2016
- The holiness of a four-way stop - April 13, 2016