Laura H. Sunday, May 13, 2012

I'm going to try each Sunday to muse over something I've thought of during the week. Today's is brought on by my churchin' this morning, but not all of them will be.


So the sermon today was about love. There was a fancy title and outline as usual, but I have to admit that I paid about as much attention to those two things as I ever do. And that is enough to see words printed on the page. (Hi Bill! Aren't you glad I don't make airplanes to fly around?)

But, it was about love. Naturally, the scripture was 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13.

Now, before I lose all of you who don't buy the Bible-bits, I'm not going to talk about this in terms of scripture. I do buy it and I know that these verses are talking about the love of God for all people (yeah, even you who don't buy the Bible-bits. He loves you too. Cope!) What I'm going to muse over is my own attempts, failures, and observations about the act of loving.

I've decided that Love is a Habit. Stop and think about your habits. Things that you do over and over and over without giving it much thought. I think love can be the same way.

Idealistic? Maybe. Impossible?  Maybe for some, but I never let the notion of something being impossible get in my way. That's a habit of mine. Tell me it is impossible and I'll either do it or talk the impossible out of it.

See, love isn't just a feeling. It is something we DO. Love is a big action made up of millions of tiny actions. So you don't have to feel a passionate attachment to someone to love them. You can display love through a smile (which is audible as well as visible,) through kindness and respect, or through helpfulness.

Those are the three biggies that I try to do when I'm out and about. I smile at everyone I can make eye contact with (I don't walk around with a big dopey grin on. I meet a person's eyes and smile.) I say please and thank you in a pleasant tone of voice through the drive through speakers. If someone is clearly struggling with something, I offer the best help I can while staying out of the 'creeper zone.'

I expect nothing in return, either. Love for loves sake is so much better to give.

Now, I fail at this a lot of times. People who whine about things they can fix, people who don't think as fast as I do, the Boy Scout when the tv is on, Elizabeth when she's overtired. These people are tough to show love to.

I feel particularly bad about the Boy Scout and Elizabeth. They mean the world to me and yet so often they end up with the worst of me instead of the best. I find myself apologizing to both of them so often - even the small girl! I apologize to her so much because sometimes being mommy means being tough because I love her. But even the apologies are an act of love. I do wrong by being impatient. I know it and I apologize for it and over time, I've gotten better about it. If I did not apologize for doing wrong, it would be selfish of me.

And selfish can't love anyone else. Because selfish is 100% me, me, me. That's not to say I'm never selfish! Oh, boy am I! That is something else I work at curing.

My attempts to love all really took a hit last year after Boy Scout's sister and her family lived with us for a while. It has taken me the better part of a year to go from burning hate to mild indifference towards them. And I forced myself to take on sewing for their child during Lent this year to get to that point. My hope is that one day (with God's help) to be able to honestly be able to say that I love them.

Until then, I fake it.

Now hold on a second before you get all up in arms on me about that. I know, I know! There's a million reasons why faking anything is a Very Bad Thing. Faking it is lying! Faking it is not being true to myself! Faking it is unfair! Know what I say to that?

BLAH BLAH BLAH!

The human being is a very interesting creature. We can see something or be told something is one thing but if it doesn't jibe with our own opinion of the world, we can twist it around in our heads to line up with what we know. Stop. Think about it. Think! Think about all the times through history that people have been convinced that some other bunch of humans were less-than-worthy! If it works that way, can't it work the other way instead? As a teenage girl who has fancied the biggest loser on the block - she'll tell you it can!

I do not want to cheat anyone out of a little brighter day, a little bit of help, or a little kindness if I can help it. I really don't. So when the Boy Scout has to be told something for the 5th time because the tv is on and it is All Consuming to him, as mad as I am, I try to at least keep my voice level. And when Elizabeth is screaming and kicking about not wanting a nap because she is overtired, I try to keep my voice quiet and usually give in to one more story. I offer, 'I'm sorry to hear that' and 'Let's try again' to the people who whine and the slower thinkers. And to my in-laws I offer nothing more or less than civility. And it serves the purpose until I do it often enough that the faking isn't necessary because I *do* love those people.

I have decided that I want to live my life with love. I can spread that around. Sometimes it is easy as pie! Sometimes, it is the last thing that I want to do. Sometimes I do a pretty good job of it. And sometimes I fail miserably.

But then I think about how it can be a pretty stinky world right now - people are at each other's throats over the silliest things. *Everything* seems to be a violently contentious issue right now. It is so disheartening for me to watch! Maybe while I try to pick up this habit of loving everyone I can give a little hope. A little brightness. A little laughter.

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