Between the last days of 2016 and early days of 2017, I have had the opportunity to speak with few people about their goals for 2017. Some of these folks are total strangers, some are acquaintances and some are good friends.
After listening to numerous accounts of “My goal for the year is….”, it appears that on a general note, the year has started well for some, but for others, it has been a wild, wild sea.
And I can't help thinking.............
These goals are good, but nothing other-centered was mentioned.
No word about love.
There were those who desired to be in a relationship or get married, but it was what they wanted. Not what they think would be better for others. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Infact, I desire same, but what about those in my life right now? How good of a job am I doing in loving them?, I pondered.
I do have goals for 2017 as well but,
What about if my highest goal or one of your goals for 2017 is loving others more and loving them well?
Would that be bad at all?
Sounds simple eh?
But not easy.
Simple, as I have come to realize, does not always equate easy to accomplish
You HAVE to WANT to.
You NEED to be intentional about that.
I feel it's the most satisfying thing one can do in 2017 or all of life.
To LOVE PEOPLE.
To LOVE WELL.
Now, what does loving well look like?
In my daily, personal encounter, I happen to come across a beautiful, sweet-spirited, agile woman, who is a senior and a widow. She lives alone. Both of her kids live out of state and hardly communicate with her.
Whenever she sees me, she is always wanting to talk. She wants to talk about the little things and the big things. She worries about some interesting things. She wants to talk about her concerns and her victories. She wants to talk about her day.
Thing is I don’t have time. I am the type to bolt out of the door to get going. My millennial mind moves 5,000 miles per hour; oftentimes, in different direction.
After a long day, the last thing I want to do is talk. Talk, is my least favorite thing to do after a long day.
I can’t explain it but seniors are often attracted to me. They want to stop and chat or go to coffee.
Something about being “wiser than your age” they say….like I am just old-school?
Anyway, I observed that occasionally when I do give her time to talk to me, she ends EACH conversation with this. “It was so nice to talk to you!”
The pattern continued. When I pause to listen, or talk, she’s always delighted and ends it always with, “It was so nice to talk to you”. When I literally walk past her with the aim of “On my way….busy day ahead…” and I turn around, I could see the hurt in her face.
I lived under the belief system that our priorities are different. I am young and working to make something out of life, so many deadlines….little sleep…gotta run….need to do this….have to do that…..and therefore, I don’t have much time to even breathe, but oh! She has lots of time. Our priorities are sooooo different!
Our priorities aren’t at all different.
At the end of the day, we all want to know we matter.
Matter to those who matter to us.
I sat down.
I empathized with her situation.
She really is lonely. A widow with kids she hardly hears from.
Living by herself.
I realized how wrong I had been.
And selfish too!
After days of mulling over the issue,
I found myself asking, “How can I love her well?”
Then it came to me.
All I had to do was PAUSE. LISTEN. SMILE.
Tell her even more often, how nice she looks (she has great love for mascaras and hair-dos and likes it when I compliment her. She blushes hard).
Tell her how nice it is to talk to her too when we converse.
Tell her, “Have a nice day too!”
Hug her as much as I can (she likes to touch me on the shoulder when she is speaking to me, she comes close ….like ‘in my face’ close. I could use that opportunity to hug her).
Answer her numerous questions IN LOVE (booooy! Is she curious?? Like a child. I sometimes get impatient and irritated but it ought not to be, she is very sweet).
Since I started practicing loving well, my relationship with her has improved significantly.
It is satisfying like loading up on some healthy fat.
She is eager to hug.
Eager to talk.
I realize how funny she is.
And just the other day, she kept saying ….”Love yoou! Loooove yooou!!” in a frail, yet sweet voice.
I knew she meant it. I knew it was true.
We all want to know we matter.
Now, I find myself asking every day, how can I love her well?
Loving well need not be complicated.
I am a sucker for simplicity.
Oftentimes, it’s in the simple things that we let others know they are loved.
Tell them how nice they look. OFTEN.
Tell them how great they are; at work, at play, at home.
Try to come home early to have dinner with family.
Put your spouse first before you.
Practice selfless loving.
Parents; LISTEN to your kids
Listen to their ramblings, frustrations and mischief. Have fun with it.
Dads; let your kids know you love them, especially your daughters. #selfesteemboost
Mums; be present...listen more, understand deeply, and judge less.
Teachers and leaders; be more involved. It's more about the people, not always about the work.
Be kind for no reason.
Be steady. Steadfast. Planted. Rooted.
GIVE! Without expecting anything in return
Give a compliment. And mean it too.
Make someone’s dream come true.
Do a kind deed…that cannot be repaid.
Let them know you are upset, but be gentle about it.
Speak the truth, but do it in love.
Take care of laundry without being asked.
Clear the snow off the drive way of a neighbor.
Help a colleague at work execute flawlessly without expecting the glory.
Mentor a struggling youth.
Take lunch to a struggling immigrant family.
Treat that busy graduate student to a sumptuous meal who usually has coffee and donuts for breakfast, pizza for lunch and even more pizza for dinner.
Restore someone’s faith in humanity.
There are many ways to love well.
Pay it forward.
How soon can you start?
For no one is guaranteed of tomorrow. No one.
Loving well………………..is a CHOICE you won't regret.
Love well in 2017.
Here’s to a love-filled year.
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