So, Charmaine got me thinking about the smaller, significant things we can do that are 'Love in Action'. Too often we pass over them when sometimes that one small gesture could mean the world to someone.
Do you have a friend who seems to call you far too often..and always at the wrong time? Do you avoid answering the phone when you see their name? Do you put off getting back to them? I used to do that. ALOT. It felt too overwhelming to answer. And yet, now that I look back on this choice, I realize it was not made out of love. In fact, the avoidance probably caused me more stress than answering the phone would have. We can be so selfish without even really registering it. Christ said to give MORE than is asked of us. If someone wants some of our time, who are we to deny them? Would Christ deny them?
So today I tried to be very conscious of every single choice I made, and what motivated it. It was shocking to me how often I take the easier (less loving) route, and not even consciously...it's just a habit. A few cases in point:
Case #1: I should be walking the dogs three times a day. When they come sit by me with those long faces just begging for time in the woods, I often ignore them in order to get done what is on MY agenda. Not very loving of me. I committed to having these two furry companions and I should, therefore, to the right and loving thing for them at all times...but I don't. They deserve better.
Case #2: This next one may seem like no big deal to you, but it is to me. I'm fairly addicted to very strong coffee..meaning coffee with two shots of espresso. Used to be every day. I weaned myself down to only 3 a week, but it's still a habit that costs me nearly $3 every time I give in. I know what that three dollars could do in Russia. I know that their needs are far more pressing than mine. So why don't I just do the right thing? You might think this is splitting hairs, but it's not. Love is about even the smallest choices we make. When I choose that espresso-laced coffee, I deny, on some level, the needs of the kids I claim to care about so much. I want to purge myself of such selfishness. Please God, help me to have a heart more like yours.
Case #3: I have a blind spot when it comes to my daughter. If someone, anyone, is hurting her in any way, I lose my ability to be loving. I feel an instant, all-consuming rage. Truth be told, when this occurs, all I really want to do is rip that person to shreds. I try to step back, but I can't seem to. For example, one of her teachers has been unkind lately. She shamed my daughter in front of the class for something she has no control over. Instead of waiting to hear her side of the story, I immediately wrote her a very unloving email that really, if I'm honest, was quite threatening. I know it's my job to protect my daughter, but I wish I could better practice what I preach in these instances - 'To understand all is to forgive all' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' I fail so miserably at that when it involves someone hurting my daughter, however unintentional. I love the idea of turning the other cheek, but in practice I seem all too quick to slap the heck out of the other person. Not kind. Not loving.
So, as much as I lament that the world is not a very loving place, I know I am a big part of the problem myself. If I can't be loving in the small things, how can I expect others to be loving in the big things? It just doesn't make sense. But I do know this: If I keep on asking God for help, and keep vigilant and aware of my own very prevalent short-comings, maybe, just maybe, I'll be making a dent over time. One can only hope.
Love in action. Every choice is aligning ourselves with Love... or its opposite. I want so very much for my choices to be holding hands with Love. Gotta keep reaching out and searching for that Hand.