If you’re close to anyone at all I’m pretty sure you could say you love them. Maybe a partner, parent, child, friend, colleague or pet. Dare I say all of us have someone we love. The first person you think of would probably be someone you love subconsciously. This love may be reciprocated, it may be demonstrated through words, touch, actions, acts of kindness or words of affirmation. It may be easy, constant or unconditional.
Love can be an emotion, a feeling, an urge. But it is also a choice.
We may automatically love our children, parents etc. But it is a conscious choice to love. And if it’s conscious then we can choose to love, not only the people who love us, But also those who don’t. Those that we don’t personally know, those who don’t reciprocate our love, those that, to the world may seem unloveable.
These are the people we NEED to love, the ones we need to consciously choose to love. With no agenda, pride or a “look at me loving this old lady” Facebook status. The strangers we pass each day on our way to work, the moody bus driver, the bratty kid having a tantrum in the supermarket, the colleague who gives you a hard time or the so called friend who stabbed you in the back.
As tough as it is, THESE are also the people we need to love.
And love looks like something.
Like I said it’s a choice.
It’s an action.
Walking through a township and being surrounded by children eager to get one of the simple plain yogurts we were handing out. Smiling, wanting to hold your hands, dressed in old ripped clothes and looking with anticipating eyes of another yogurt or to play a game. These children need to be loved and if I’m honest it is easy to love them, the poor, the happy to see you, eager to hold your hand, appreciative of any game or song you do with them kind of children. But what about the little boy who doesn’t run up to you? the one that is throwing rocks against a wall, the one who gives you no smile and doesn’t come running up to you, who doesn’t (dare I say) making you feel important and purposeful.
When I first arrived here. I felt out of my depth. I came from being in charge of my own class, having my own flat, my own car, a wage each month, a group of friends that I loved a church family that I felt such a part of. I would even say my life was near perfect. I came with nothing other than a mission to love. I was so eager to do these big acts of love I imagined up in my head, feeding thousands of orphans, building school buildings and rescuing children from the streets. Considering I’ve been here for less than 2 weeks, I clearly had some big dreams on how I was going to LOVE the world in such a short time span. I don’t know wether it was due to homesickness but the 2nd day I felt worthless, inadequate and questioned why I was here if I hadn’t yet done some grand big gesture of love. A little boy in the home I am working in stood in the hall where the children get fed, he looked all around clearly trying to find someone. We were all busy eating our dinner, I smiled at him and he shyly shuffled up to me. (I was new after all having been there less than 48 hours) he held up a board game and I nodded and gestured for him to come over.
I was planning on letting him win, but unfortunately for me he won anyway. He wanted to play again and again and again. It was fun but through out the entirety of the game the thoughts were still whirling around at how I wasn’t saving the world, doing something grand or extravagant, feelings of inadequacy, disappointment and sadness at the people I wasn’t loving.
It was then that god highlighted this little boys smile, it was so infectious and beautiful. This little boy was right in front of me. The chance to love, was sitting right in front of me. playing a simple board game no big gesture, no song and dance, not in front of a crowd or to boast at the good I have done today. But a simple and raw act of love. People this is what love is.
It looks like something.
It’s right in front of you.
It’s not grand or extravagant.
It’s a smile. It’s a hug. It’s time. It’s an act. It’s a word.
It’s simple. Yet without it we would be nothing.
It’s not hard to love. You don’t have to go searching for it. You don’t need to travel the world, set up charities or sponsor a child (although this is brilliant but maybe not for everyone) you can find love right where you are. You may have walked past or dismissed opportunities to love. Putting a neighbours bins away, sending an encouraging text to a friend or washing your room mates dishes.
Start each day with the mission to look right in front of you, to love whoever is highlighted to you. Without the pressure of it having to be some big show, but a simple act of love.
Why? Because love casts out the darkness this world is suffering with, it breaks depression, fear, loneliness, worthlessness, hopelessness, despair and sadness. A smile can turn someone’s day from darkness into light, it can stop the storm that may be consuming Ines being and allow a glimmer of hope, of light and joy.
out of love,
for the one,
right in front of you.
Love looks like something.
What does it look like for someone today?