The “Do It Now” List
What can be done to improve our relationships? The unequivocal answer is to be much more willing to follow our Master's example: to love; to love more; to love more than anything else; to love ceaselessly, consistently, persistently, and, most of all, selflessly.
We all have a mental list of things we could or should do to maintain or improve a relationship. It might include touching base more often, spending more time with someone, paying off a debt, writing a thank you note for a gift received, making the effort to break a bad habit, like swearing or criticizing, showing more respect and appreciation. On the outside, showing our love for someone might seem like a little thing. But on the inside, it's huge. The irony is that relationships matter most to most people, yet they most often get the least amount of our time and attention.
How that happens is irrelevant, frankly. It simply does, and the innumerable reasons why are merely excuses. The real question to ask is: what can be done about it—to stop it from happening so often, if not altogether?
The unequivocal answer is to be much more willing to follow our Master's example: to love; to love more; to love more than anything else; to love ceaselessly, consistently, persistently, and, most of all, selflessly. Motivated by divine Love, we see the world differently: there's a peace in our hearts, a calmness in our demeanor, a smile on our lips, a warmth in our words, a spring in our walk—a bright energy that pervades our thoughts and actions. The result is astonishing: the day goes more smoothly, we get our "stuff" done, and the people we've connected with definitely feel the Love! There is nothing – truly not one thing – better than knowing God's love is in action, impelling us to love someone, showing us how, and feeling its effect.
What it means – to love someone – can lead to a thought-provoking family conversation and some wonderful ideas for demonstrating genuine love. Here are some questions to get the conversation going…
- How do you love your parents?
- Do you hug them?
- Are you obedient?
- Are you respectful?
- Do you help around the house?
- Do you communicate clearly and regularly?
- Do you thank them for a good meal, a ride to school or practice, doing your laundry, finding a missing item of clothing, paying for unlimited text messaging?
- How about your siblings?
- What about your grandparents?
- How do you love your friends, teachers, coaches, neighbors?
- How about the random people you pass in the hall at school or at the mall?
- What about the teams you play against?
- How do you love someone you don't particularly like? (Hint: how do you think your parents keep loving you when you aren't acting like yourself?)
- After talking, what will you do to show your love more often and in ways that are meaningful?
Jesus loved so completely and so consistently that he healed wherever he went – people who were sick, blind, deaf and mute, those who were lepers (an incurable disease at that time), dying, even dead, those who were angry, who were bullies, lunatic, and psychotic. Some came to him for healing; others were healed from a distance or simply as Jesus passed by. Many were healed right before his eyes; and others were miles away, nowhere near him. In each case, Jesus was able to heal because he was able to love.
Jesus' love was not a human effort to be kind and sympathetic. The source of his love was divine; it was utterly spiritual. It was based on his abiding conviction that God is Love and that man, God's beloved offspring, His "image and likeness," is a reflection of that Love. Therefore, man is loved, lovable, and loving. As we gain more confidence in our own spiritual identity and see ourselves and everyone else as God's loved, lovable, and loving children, we respond naturally to the intuition that prompts us—in fact, compels us—to love.
At the top of my "Do It Now" list is a reminder to call my grandmothers, one is 104 and the other 103 and both spend their days pretty much alone. How hard is it to make a phone call to someone I love? How much time does it take to tell these dear members of my family that I think of them every single day, hold them close in my heart, cherish special memories, want them to know that they have an ongoing purpose as shining examples of the kind of woman I aspire to be? I'll be right back—I'm calling them now.
Now it's your turn! All it takes to work on your family's "Do It Now" list is reflected love—the kind of love that pours forth, that's ready to be expressed anytime and anywhere, the kind that isn't bumped down the priority list, overlooked, pushed aside, forgotten—the most powerful, healing kind.