On Loving Others

We spent the afternoon at a funeral for an amazing woman. Her life seemingly touched each and every person she met.  Over and over and over, people testified of her love for others and her love for the Lord.  Grandma Gladys leaves behind quite a legacy of faithfulness, encouragement, and hope.

As is often the case with funerals, I come away questioning my own life's endeavors: Am I prioritizing my time well?  Am I investing in the right places?  Am I too self-focused? Do I love others enough?   

And while this reflection can be a healthy starting point for making change in the ways I prioritize my days, it can easily become depressing when I'm honest with myself about my shortcomings and my natural tendency to love self first.

I was especially touched by the story of a mom with four small children who lives not far from Grandma Gladys.  During Grandma Gladys's sick days the last several months, this thoughtful mom carved special time in the midst of homeschooling-parenting-settling into a new house- caring for her husband-chasing after dogs-training horses-doing laundry-cleaning house-meal planning <whew> to bake homemade bread and pastries which she and her children would deliver regularly to Grandma Gladys's door.  With love.

That, to me, is a picture of loving others well.  Loving beyond one's self.  Loving when it's not convenient, when it takes energy, when it feels like a burden.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that loving well is one of the most important things we will ever do on this earth.

Although it sounds simple, from experience I recognize it can be one of the most challenging things we will ever do. 

This reminds me of a verse I asked my 4-6th grade Sunday School class to memorize three weeks ago:
"Beloved, let us love one another. 
For love is of God,
and everyone who loveth is born of God,
and knoweth God. 
He that loveth not, knoweth not God
for God is love." 
1 John 4:7-8
May I lay my head on my pillow each night knowing that today, I loved well.