When Do We Love Best?

There’s no need for love to be profound.  It is what it is even in the mundane of things.

Words are cheap. It’s easy to say I love yous’ and not really stand by every word you express. It’s easy to feel love for other people especially when they’re miles away and you don’t need to put up with their daily dramas and annoyances. So I believe, we love best when we do so even if,

it’s uncomfortable,

even when it’s hard,

even when it takes up your time, your energy and your resources.

So, are we really ready for this? Do we have the strength of will to carry on?

Love is a verb.  It’s a call to action. The most beautiful of roses have thorns. So it is with love- the sweetest of it requires the greatest sacrifice.  A call for a noble deed or dying for a friend may be uncommon these days, but that call exists even in the simplest of circumstances:

-to lose sleep for a loved one who needs to talk his heart out through the night

-to save a sandwich for a coworker who missed lunch because of deadlines

-to trash your well-laid plans for the day and drop by to check on a friend

-to laugh at your dad’s joke no matter how silly it is ‘coz you’re happy that he is

-to remember someone’s need in prayer, even if you have much of your own

-to put up with a kids tantrum, knowing he’s just scared and maybe needs attention as grown-ups still do

There are a lot of different ways to act on love, but often times we neglect these opportunities because we’re so focused on ourselves and our needs. So we end up loving in our own terms. Conditional. But maybe if we give it a little more effort, and speak the kind of language the other person has, we can brighten someone else’s day and there’ll be one less lonely or sad person in the world. One person at a time. One effort at a time. That wouldn’t be so overwhelming.

If a person feels loved when somebody listens to his stories- lend an ear. If a person feels loved when she gets an encouragement- say something. If a person feels loved by receiving some help- extend a hand. There’s no need for love to be profound.  It is what it is even in the mundane of things.

And for us who expects love in a big way- like a strong wind that sweeps us off our feet, my challenge is this:  Wake up, and see love in the ordinary.  A kind smile. A sunny day, even a rainy one. A warm home-cooked meal. A hand to hold. A glimpse of nature. A gentle word.

Love is everywhere and it is in you too.  Don’t just show up to receive it. Show up to give it. Your own little way makes it special, makes it count.  A friend, a husband,  wife, a father, a son, a mom a daughter, a colleague, a stranger, we are no different from one another.  Everybody needs love. And everybody is capable of giving it. Be it simple or grand- act on it, and on the flipside, learn to recognize it too.

Pillars

Stop beating yourself up, because the people to whom you really matter, would still want to see you alright and truly happy. And it makes sense to want it for yourself too.

Frustration washed over me. I was in that awful state a few weeks back.  It lingered for quite some time and I nearly quit.  I remember one night before closing my eyes to sleep, I said, “I’m done”.  I was determined to quit. I felt helpless and I was ready to let go.  I can’t seem to win over it anyway.

Days after, I went to confront my issues face to face.  The problem was, I knew I was supposed to be doing something about things that I really cared about but lately, I was failing.  Work takes a lot of my time.  I don’t blame my job for it. I don’t curse it because it brings food to the table, allows me to pursue my passion and equips me to give more. The truth of the matter is, I failed to recognize that I was going through a rough season, and like everything else, this season will also come to pass.

When you’ve sucked up to gloomy days for a while it pays to have pillars around.  These are the people who actually help you look at the problem fair and square and present options you failed to notice or even think of. At best,  they would remind you to be gentle and forgiving to your own self, more so because you cannot expect it from the world.

We should allow ourselves some white space, a soft place to land, a breather, a room to fail and make mistakes.  After all, that’s what being human is. We have limits. The sooner we recognize this, the sooner we’d free ourselves from the worthless feeling of inadequacy and frustration.

I must admit that even in the past I had this superhero complex.  Most days I’m able to tame it, but sometimes, it manages to escape and that’s when it takes a toll on me. We can’t really be everything to everyone, no matter how hard we try, and we cannot be in every place at the same time.  If you’re like that too, control that tendency now.  Stop beating yourself up because today and tomorrow, the people to whom you really matter, would still want to see you alright and truly happy. And it makes sense to want it for yourself too.

The conversations I had with my pillars simplified things and gave me clarity.  Believe me, to the world they may just be a bunch of regular people, but they are MY BUNCH. If you have them in your own life, realize that you are very fortunate.

This season also reminded me to take the time to honor my pillars and recognize that no matter how high I soar, I could always count on them whenever my wings break and in need of healing, or whenever the storm gets too strong and I need a shelter for the night.  

A wise man was asked one time, “How come you are able to see far ahead?” , He quipped, “Simple. Because my feet are resting on the shoulders of God. Far and wide He can see,  that’s why I can.”

Stranded

Life will not wait for you.  It will run its course the way it is destined to, and so should you!

That day when you just suddenly begin to question your circumstances.

Why am I here?

Is this what I’m supposed to do?

For how long?

Is this all?

And then what?

Have you ever been there?

I woke up feeling uninspired one Tuesday- my focus narrowing on the normality of life:

same job

same route from home to work, and back

the usual concerns

the usual complaints

monotonous tasks

predictable outcomes

It’s like ordering food from your favorite fast food chain.  You get to buy a different combo meal every time or try out different combinations, but it’s all coming from the same menu. You already know what’s there and what you can get.  No surprises. Nothing excitingly fresh.  It’s plain. It’s dull.

Conclusion:  Sameness leads to boredom.  Boredom consumes passion.

Should you be alarmed? Yes!  I remember a quote from the book Tuesdays with Morrie saying,

“When you’re in bed, you’re dead”.   Years ago,  this quote freed me from the trappings I’ve put myself in, and then again, it’s freeing me now.

Grass not watered on will wither and die. Like every tree that needs to bear good fruit so it’s not cut down and thrown into the fire (read: Matthew 7:19), we ought to do the same. We have to bear fruit, not only once, but through all seasons as long as there is life. To blossom is a divine call and it is a personal responsibility.

There is no end to what you can possibly do or accomplish, no limits for you to get better, no closed doors for growth and progress.  This is exactly the key.  When boredom strikes and stagnation knocks at your doorstep, open the door but don’t let it in.  Fight back and defend your territory. How? Create a brand new opportunity or get better at an existing one.

Whatever you choose, you need to have something to accomplish, something to push you out of your limits,

out of your comfort zone,

out of the ordinary!

That way you’re constantly experiencing, contributing, growing and truly living.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. Take it from Albert Einstein.  So if you want a better ending, a fruitful and exciting existence, do something different, or do something differently.  Either way, you will win.

I know it’s not gonna be easy, and frankly, it never will be.  Everything around you is going to change, the world will keep on revolving even if you choose to stop, or pause or sit quietly in one corner.  Life will not wait for you.  It will run its course the way it is destined to, and so should you!

If you’re not arriving at anything significant yet, that’s good news. That means there’s room for creating or achieving one. Don’t limit yourself for the simple reason that: You’re not meant to live in a box. That was not the plan.

As to how my Tuesday ended, I said yes to an invitation to do something I haven’t done before and totally out of my comfort zone.

We get better over time and we should!  We learn as we go. Remember that talents and gifts not multiplied will be taken away (refer to Matthew 25:14-30, The Parable of the Talents). If you really treasure what you have been given, you will use it for good and use it to bless the people around you. That way your hands, your heart, and your mind don’t become idle. And as you go along you’ll get to discover and create a purpose that’s far bigger than you!