L O V E. I get it, and yet I don’t always feel it. I don’t always give it. And I don’t always understand why people don’t care more about love through action. In this context, when I say ‘love through action’, I mean thoughtfulness. Being thoughtful has never been particularly hard for me. It has never been particularly easy either. My good intentions get construed by my desire for validation in my giving, or my basic distraction with other things in life. Deep down in my heart I just want to love others well. I want each and every person I encounter to feel like they are valued, and are truly irreplaceable. I attribute this to the small (and huge) acts of great love that God and my parents and family have poured into me in my almost 22 years of existence. I also attribute it to Mr.Rogers sunny optimism on his tv show that I soaked in as a child.
Being thoughtful has been acted out in different ways throughout my life. It is only now that I feel like i’m beginning to grasp what living an intentional and thoughtful life looks like. When I was a kid, I tried to be thoughtful. That meant back-rubs for a tired mommy. When I was a teenager thoughtful took on a new meaning. I was thinking of others, but still a bit self absorbed (sometimes ALOT self absorbed…thank the Lord for my patient family). I gave hoping to receive something in return. Little misguided 16 year old Chyanne, if only I could talk some sense into her. Although, I wouldn’t have a plethora of wisdom to share with her when it comes to this… I still fail constantly at pure thoughtfulness. At least now I feel like I am really trying to grasp at the act of being thoughtful.
This has meant realizing that I do treat people the way I want to be treated, but I’ve learned that I don’t give to receive something in return. I don’t buy someone a piece of cake because I expect them to buy me a pastry the next day. I don’t ask about someone’s day just because I want them to ask about mine. Sometimes the person you are asking isn’t in a good place to ask, or give, or love. You just have to keep loving them, even when you don’t get anything in return. People need love, and love can be acted out in so many different ways. Small acts of love have the greatest impact, whether that is an intentional conversation, a small gesture, or a little gift. Little bits of love can go a long way.
I have often found myself on the other side of that. This past year has been the hardest year of my life thus far, emotionally speaking. I have not always been in a place to love others, but those around me have loved me through it. People have come through in little ways, and done things to make me smile. One friend bought me a camel puzzle, because she knows I love bactrian camels. Another friend came and hung out with me for hours, just so that I wouldn’t have to close a store up alone. My parents have bought me tickets home for Christmas, and other people have given me money so that I can be here. People’s love, their thoughtfulness, is OVERWHELMING. The love I have received pushes me even further to do my best to extend that love to everyone.
It can be easy to not put effort into a relationship if you feel like there is not a lot you are getting out of it. It is easy to feel bitter when you give and give, and don’t feel like you are getting anything in return. However, if you are only focusing on what you aren’t receiving, you will never fully understand how much you are being given! And if you do your best to be intentional, you can transform the lives of people. The littlest things make the biggest difference.
Why live an ordinary life, when you are called to something greater? You are called to love. There are no exceptions to that. You can’t just love when it’s easy, or when you have energy. You can’t be intentional and thoughtful only when it works best for you. You can’t decide to love those five people, and not those other five people. It takes patience, and work, and energy and love from God above. Just remember how you felt when someone did something that made you feel like you mattered to them. Now go and do that to as many people as you can, and make this world a better place to live in. 🙂
And a special thanks to all the people who ever made me feel special, you truly are superstars!
Simple act of love– buying donuts for the school staff I’m saying goodbye to. I have never seen a group of people eat donuts so fast in my life! And my friend on the back also performed a simple act of love by helping me transport these bad boys all the way out to Svay Pak!