Love

"Beloved, your life matters to me."

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  ~ Romans 12:10

 “We are always a bridge between God and someone else. Always a bridge of blessing. We matter. We matter significantly.”  Pastor William Carrol

How intentional and purpose-filled are we in our daily relationships? How attentive are we to the relationships that matter to us? How aware are we of the needs of the other party(ies)? What are we giving of ourselves to build up and encourage our loved ones?

If you ask me, I will tell you I am very intentional. I am very purposeful and intent on building or maintaining my relationships always. However, I’ve come to realize that my own intention and purposefulness does not necessarily translate to an understanding of how I, my life and my actions
impact the other party.

To a very great degree I am clueless. I understand only that which is explained or revealed to me.

One of my uncles had a very harrowing, life-threatening experience a week ago today. When I went to go see him and asked him about his experience, his pain and hurt were easy for me to see and hear. My natural inclination was to hug him and tell him I love him. I’ve hugged my uncle and told him “I love you” countless times in my life. Quite honestly, I didn’t think the gesture or the words would be anything special to him even though I felt it was important for him to know that he was loved at such a dark, painful moment in his life.

He clung to me. And when I stepped away, he pulled me back. “You really needed a hug,” I said. He simply nodded.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.  ~ Romans 12:9

We were in the hospital waiting room visiting my grandmother with two of my aunts and a cousin. I was leaving that day, so before we all separated upon leaving the hospital, I said, “My uncle needs a hug. So, come on, group hug!” They all moved in. I got a good grip on both my aunts and we all squeezed in on my uncle, who was in the middle of the circle. I let go of my Zena-warrior-woman-call as I jumped up and down and shook the whole circle with my joy. He began laughing. They all began laughing. A stranger walked up to us and said, “I want a hug too.”

“Do you really,” I asked.

He looked a bit bashful for a moment, but didn’t back down. He nodded.

“Well, come here! I love giving hugs!” One of my aunts and I hugged him gleefully.

We all separated with beaming smiles.

I was pleased, but I didn’t think much of that moment… until my uncle called me after I had returned home. He said simply, “Shawnda, I want to say ‘thank you’ for hugging me and telling me you love me. You were the only one who thought about me and asked how I was doing.”  Chuckling, he continued, “You said, ‘my uncle needs a hug’ and they all hugged me. Thank you.”

Appreciation – such a life-giving disposition.

I would fly a thousand miles and back again for anyone who could so appreciate a hug.

Validation – what a life-affirming response.

I will be more intentional about letting loved ones know how much they matter to me.

Indeed, Beloved, you matter to me.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.  ~ Romans 12:9-13

 

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