Sunday, January 5, 2014

Love


“An invincible power
Binds me to my flower…”

Fyodor Dostoevsky – The Brothers Karamazov




I have a lot to do and not much time to do it all.  Fortunately, I’ve already done a couple of things on my to-do list.   As important as all these things are to me, there’s one more thing I want to do and it may be the most important item on the list:
Love others.
More than anything else, that’s what I want.  It’s true I like the adrenaline surge of being under a deadline.  I like the focus of being goal-oriented.   Most of all, I like the feeling of accomplishment.  However, if I go through the day distracted and irritable because I’m not able to cross off my to-do list and if I miss opportunities to be kind to someone because I’m focused on tasks, then I’ve failed.
I’ve said this before:  The Purpose of Purpose is love. 
Love is the reason I’m doing all this.  First then I should define the term.  For my purposes here, I define love as meeting the needs of those who are in my life.  What do most people need?   Time and attention.  This means completely and happily letting go of my temporal and emotional agenda.  It means looking my children in the eye and smiling when they are talking to me.  It means listening without judgment or thinking about what I’m going to say next.  It means physically and mentally putting aside things on my to-do list.  Sometimes it might even mean saying, “I can’t give you my full attention now, but if you give me a few minutes to finish what I’m doing, then I will.”   In Spanish, I would say, “Dame 10?”
It has been said that love is not a feeling.  More accurately, it is not only a feeling.  Depending on the type of relationship, it is attraction, emotion, fun, laughter, peace and joy.  It is also, however, time, commitment and work.  It is a decision to build up and not to tear down.  It sometimes means to correct another.  It often means to ask forgiveness and to extend it.  It is faithfulness. 
People say that love is difficult.  Honestly, I’ve never known it to be difficult.  What I have found difficult is cowardice, selfishness, emotional or physical separation, fear and anger, either mine or the other person’s.  Love, however, is the easiest thing in the world.  If I were to go through the day and ask this question, “How can I love this person in front of me?” I think I would have a fun day, because for each situation might present a different answer.
Here are the possibilities I see:
·      A silent or a spoken prayer
·      Time
·      Attention
·      Encouragement
·      Chatting on the Internet because the person is too far away
·      A trip to the mall
·      Lunch
·      Watching a softball game
·      Physical contact
·      Saying, “Thank you.”
·      Saying, “I love you.”

There are no rules.  Mostly, I think, love is saying, this person (or these people) whom God has put in front of me at this moment is the most important person on earth, like a beautiful flower.  In addition, there are some who are always in front of me, in my mind, if not physically.  Time only allows me to give my heart to a select few.  But I can love everyone.  I can Get Started and Keep Going…and be more loving.