Friday, October 7, 2016

Love Does

I recently read this: 

Love is an action. 

So, one of the best ways, if not the best way, to show that we love someone, is by doing. We can't say that we truly love someone, or something, and then have no action behind that love. Love takes people in, Love hugs, Love plays catch with kids, Love listens, Love makes people smile, Love helps others, Love is moved to action. Love Does.

On Tuesday afternoon I became aware of a hurricane off the coast of Florida, which had a chance to hit Coastal Georgia, where I live. In the next 24-48 hours, there was a voluntary evacuation, a mandatory evacuation, and numerous warnings about loss of life and total devastation. So we left the island.

We stayed up late on Tuesday trying to determine where to go. I wanted to try and make it a fun trip for my family, and also didn't want to be too far away when it came time to return home. It was tough to find a decent hotel that was in a good place, so I started reaching out to friends. 

Asking for help always has its tensions. But I had just finished reading "Love Does", by Bob Goff, and he argues that love is an action. Love Does, rather than Love Thinks Longingly About, or Love Considers, or Love is Interested In, or Love is Making a Plan, or Love Would Like to But Love Is Busy.

And it gave me the courage to reach out. The first person was quite a ways from us but responded lovingly, and immediately, offering us a 3 bedroom house. She lives alone, and was likely in for a whirlwind weekend with us and our two kids, but she didn't hesitate to offer us her time and her space. 

We decided not to make the longer drive, but I was humbled that my friend, whom I have not seen in a very long time, and only talk to through text to catch up, was so quickly willing to look out for us.

I also texted my friend Josh, who is one of the most amazing examples of someone who Does Love and has done that for me consistently since I have known him. Josh rents his home out on AirBnB about 20-25 nights out of the month, so I wasn't sure that we would catch him. He had a free night at his house, so we drove up to Atlanta to stay with him. 

As soon as we got there, Josh and Vanessa started talking about all the plans they had for us and our kids. When we walked in they had cookies laid out for the kids. Then they took us to the backyard and told the kids about the fire we would have later that night. Harper collected firewood to help, and Josh made him feel like the most important person there. 

We then went to all of these cool places in Atlanta, places that I'm sure Josh and his wife had been 100 times before, but they treated it like it was the most amazing experience. Everything was cool and interesting and pointed out to us and our kids so we would see it that way too. Our kids, who were at this point stuck to Josh, rounded a corner ahead of us, and Josh and his wife were there with them at a popsicle stand letting them each pick out a popsicle (before dinner!!!). 

We wandered through stores and past eateries, and then they took us up on the roof of this building that had like a miniature coney island on top, overlooking the city. They had carnival games, and a giant slide, and putt-putt, and the kids had a blast. This whole time, Josh and Vanessa are one step ahead of us, treating us and our kids to all of these things. 

The money is not the issue. we are close enough that money will move back and forth between us for the rest of our lives for dinners, surprises, loans, favors, and who knows what else. But Josh knew that we had other things on our mind, and that we had been displaced from our home, and in the car all day, so they focused on US. Love Does.

Maybe the most amazing thing to me, about all of this, is something that I discovered while reading another book recently, titled, "Leadership and Self-Deception". One of the things it talks about is that people know how we are feeling about them in our heart. Through how we want to feel, or think we are feeling, through our fake smiles, and insincere gestures, people can tell what our heart posture is towards them, and THAT is what they respond to. I thought that was powerful.

Now, Josh is outwardly loving to our kids. He laughs with them, and makes them laugh, and encourages them. But that comes from a heart of love and generosity, it's not fabricated. And even when he's tired, and it is fabricated, like he is having to force that out as many of us have to do sometimes, his heart posture is still one of love. 

So it's easy for our kids to see it, and you would think they could be fooled by the outward expressions. I mean, who are kids to be able to tell what someone's heart posture is. But they know man, they know. And I know they know, because like me, they don't just LIKE Josh, they LOVE him right back. They are drawn to him. My 2-year-old has really only ever seen Josh immediately after his birth (Josh came in AFTER. I love him, but there is a line). And I don't even think babies can see, so...

But after just a couple of hours, he was tagging along with Josh, trying to keep up with Josh, asking where Josh was. He was drawn to Josh because of the posture of Josh's heart towards him. Love Does.

I am humbled by the love shown to me and my family during this time. I encourage you to think about how you can express your love to those around you, every single day.

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