‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Friday, November 11, 2011

Love in Action

I received so many beautiful comments on my 2nd to last post - thank you. Most of them were sent via Facebook because many of you are still having trouble posting comments to this blog. Sorry about that! I can't seem to get to the bottom of it. But I'm so thankful for all the kind words, especially Charmaine, who wrote such a beautiful reminder to me, that even simply loving Anya from afar and helping to support her financially is bound to be convincing her that she is truly loved. Sometimes I forget that, and focus too much on what I have failed to accomplish. Thank you, Charmaine, for the needed reminder of what I have accomplished.

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.


  1. Here's my thing...well...sometimes you just mess up the small things, either being loving or responsible or decent or whatever. We mess up. But then there are people who do only the "big" things and then use them to pat themselves on the back on how nice, loving, generous and decent they are. Then they leave the shopping cart behind someone's car, cut in line, are impatient with the store cashier, leave pee on the public restroom seat, and flip someone off on the drive home in just one grocery trip.

    And they don't give it a second thought.

    And it seems a whole pile of people don't see what's wrong with that. In fact, I bet a lot of them engaged in behaving this way really don't know they're doing it. They don't *think.*

    It's impossible to be loving and generous and kind, etc., ALL the time. I think it is, anyway. Since we're human and all, you know? But it's one thing to look to the little things that build your heart and another to whip out the checkbook twice a year or make a few big sacrifices or kindnesses (and they don't have to be showy ones that others see, just enough for whoever is doing them to fool themselves into thinking they're just the bee's knees, thanks very much, no work to do here!)

    I'm rambling. You probably get what I'm saying anyway :) Here's to looking at the small stuff - but not sweating it when you are human, too!

  2. I don't think I can add anything to what Leigh said - she read my mind.

  3. Dear kerry, Im 14 and was wondering something..
    I am big on helping wildlife and the environment. Because you are so big on helping orphans and humans in general, I was wondering if you also wanted to help the environment?


  4. Hi Melinda, thanks for writing! I do try to help the environment in ways that I can -- I'm an obsessive recycler, for example. But in terms of devoting any more time in my schedule to environmental causes, I can't say I would. I feel called to help in the cause of orphans, just as you feel called to help the environment. I think we all have our calling, our passion, and that is where I think we will make the most difference..because our heart is there. I do all I can in my day to day life to support the environment -- I do not use any chemical cleaners in my home, I eat organically, i support local farms and famers markets, I won't use chemicals on my lawn and encourage others to find healthier alternatives...but thats all I seem to have time for, bc the rest of my life ( besides being a mom and working) is taken up doing all I can for the kds at orphanage #5! Please tell me more about your passion!

  5. Thank you for the reminder, especially where the dogs are concerned.

  6. "To understand all is to forgive all" - WHERE is that quote from? That idea absolutely resonates with me, and the quote stuck in my mind, but I'd love to give attribution.

    You are so right. One day it struck me that choosing not to answer the phone was turning my back on someone. I suppose answering the phone WITH kindness and openness - when you don't want to answer at all IS love. Yet, lest I feel too good about myself, when my daughter wanted me to listen to the third Jessica Simpson song in a row, I shut it out. There was my sweet daughter trying to communicate with me, and I refused to listen. All I can say is, I din't have the open heart to recognize her, and it just kills me. (Didn't know who else to confess to at his hour of the day).

    I love your inspiration.

  7. Keri, when will you post an update? Throw your fans a bone, we want to know how things are going! Just a crumb will do.

  8. Anonymous8:01 PM

    Dear kerry, I was the one who posted on this blog about the environment question.. I had posted under my moms info.. I recently started a blog and was wondering if you would like to follow it.. Here it is! http://thebucketlistofbucketlists.blogspot.com/


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