My eldest daughter, Caryn, left the day after Christmas to board a plan to India. Within a span of six weeks, she will have spent time in Bhutan, India, and Nepal. While she primarily is there to simply love people, she is also working as a humanitarian photographer. To be honest, I have lost count of how many times she has traveled abroad within the past seven years. I am always happy for her to go, but there is certainly a sense of relief when she safely returns.
Three years ago, I had a very vivid dream one night while my daughters were overseas. At the time, my older girls were 20 and 22 and they were both in India doing a three-week student outreach. To my horror, I dreamed that their plane crashed. Then I saw them standing before their Creator with such immense joy. You could see God’s delight in them. As I watched all of this take place, God suddenly turned to me and I heard Him lovingly whisper, “Cherie, MY daughters died living.”
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I am learning that the best way to love others is simply to begin with small acts of kindness.
The best way for me to love others is to be fully present without the incessant distractions of social media, my “to do lists”, and the clamor of a busy life. This is easier said than done given my type A personality and perfectionist tendencies.
Yesterday I was fully present (no cell phone, computer, etc) with my eldest daughter, Caryn. I spent a better part of the day listening to her share her adventures abroad. After 30+ hours of travel she safely returned to our home early Sunday morning. She headed to SE Asia on December 26th to spend 45 days in Bhutan, India, and Nepal to serve others. We have only a few days before she heads home to Detroit and I know all too well this time together will fly by. Let me just say, as a mother, it’s hard to admit that her home is anywhere other than where I live So loving her in small ways is being fully available while she processes through her trips, fights jet lag, washes her clothes, and physically gets needed rest.
My husband returned home on Saturday from a two week trip in Europe and is also getting back into a groove. Loving him well has been allowing him to reenter and assume his role as leader.
Loving outside my home begins by being available to serve others and occurs in so many ways.
- Maybe it’s connecting with the barista or waiter by offering a smile, tipping them well, or asking about their day.
- Helping a neighbor by being available to receive a home delivery because they are at work.
- Making eye contact with the homeless person on the street and offer a them words of encouragement. There are times I feel compelled to give them money, clothes, or water.
- Opening my home to younger women to share life lessons, hot tea, and goodies.
- This video inspired me and is a beautiful illustration of loving others through random acts of kindness.
Loving others is an adventure that truly can open people up. Gary Chapman says, “Love is an attitude, that says, “I choose to focus my life on helping others.”" My hope is that I would be known for helping others.
Truth be told my desire is to be served by others so serving well goes against the grain for me. As I fight my selfishness I am discovering a deeper joy and experiencing a sweet connection with others.
What are some of the ways you love others? How much of your day today would you say is spent in expressing love to others?