For some strange reason, the phrase “loving well” keeps popping up for me lately. Just in the last few days, a writer I deeply respect used it in a blog post, my pastor prayed for it in a prayer service, and a friend wished for it in a conversation.
So I find myself wondering: what distinguishes loving well from – well, “just” loving?
As I try to nail down the distinction, I think of the people in my life who I would say love well and I ask myself, “What makes him/her come to mind?”
Yes, they put others’ needs above their own, certainly they allow themselves to be vulnerable in relationships, and no doubt they consistently strive to communicate clearly.
Maybe it’s because we’ve just celebrated Christmas that I’ve been thinking about gifts. I wonder, why do we do that? What is it that inspires humans to give things to each other?
Back in the 80’s, a friend of mine married into an affluent family. As a wedding gift, her in-laws said they wanted to spring for bedroom furniture for her and her new husband.
The happy couple was elated; they went out shopping and found a great deal on a lovely walnut set: a dresser, chest and two end tables. It was perfect for their small rented apartment and they were beyond pleased.
Today is my Dad’s 91st birthday and there’s a Christian song so reflective of his life, it could have been written specifically about him. After I tell you a bit of his story, I think you’ll agree.
The fact that he’s lived 91 years is remarkable in and of itself. This is a guy whose fragile health as a child had doctors predicting he would never reach adulthood.
Eighty or so years and several health crises later, he still preaches at his church, shares his faith anytime there’s an “open door”, joins his friends for breakfast twice a week, and until recently was a chaplain on call at the local hospital.
Early in my law enforcement career, I was assigned to an office in an economically depressed part of Indiana. I recall going out on one particular raid with fellow agents and police in a rundown housing project. When we barreled through the front door of this dingy apartment, there were small children sleeping on a ragged couch in the living room. The spectacle of a dozen or more police and Federal agents with guns, Continue reading The Humility of Being Replaceable→
These are things I ask myself: Why does a woman long for motherhood? Just what is the irresistible draw? Is it the desire to bring a child into the security of a warm circle of love? The particular mix of hormones brought on by the passage of a certain number of birthdays? Acquiescence to relentless pressure from family and friends? An unquenchable desire to love and be loved in a wholly unique way?
It’s Saturday, so here are some thoughts for our single friends. A version of this post first appeared in July 2012 on SingleMatters.
A friend of mine years ago used to call me regularly late at night and unload her problems on me. I was an exhausted single mom with a thousand things to do after my little one went down for the night and this was just what I didn’t need.
This friend would drone on and on about everything wrong in her life. She would cry and complain and question the goodness of God. Then, after 30-45 minutes of this she would say, “Well, I have to go, but quickly – how are you?”
My response was always, “Quickly? I’m fine.” Whether I was or not. And then we would hang up.
It’s Saturday, so I’d like to share this post for singles. A version of it appeared here in April 2011.
This surprised me: More than fifty per cent of U.S. residents are now single, nearly a third of all households are comprised of just one resident, and five million adults younger than thirty-five live alone*.
Singleness is hardly rare and single adults of all ages have a considerable amount of influence on American culture, from their purchasing habits to their entertainment choices.
If you were to visit my neighborhood tonight, you wouldn’t have to go far before being confronted by more than one of those front yard animatronic Santas that repeatedly drop their drawers to reveal “Happy Holidays” written in script on their rears. Down the block, there’s a rifle-toting Frosty the Snowman in camouflage gear, while SpongeBob grins weirdly at baby Jesus in the blow-up manger scene close by. I live in the Midwest, but I’m sure that wherever you are, the scene is similar.
It’s all very confusing.
Christmas has come to represent over-the-top materialism, endless parties, spiked eggnog, and that ubiquitous loop of holiday songs in the background everywhere – even at the gas station. It seems obvious: Christmas has been turned into a mostly secular holiday.
But before you go getting all nervous that I am about to launch into a rant about how NOT to observe Christmas, let me assure you I have exactly the opposite intent. Here’s my suggestion for a more meaningful season: Continue reading Why It’s Time to Rethink Christmas→