Dear readers, when I announced this 31-day project Lucy Alonzo wrote to me with her own thoughts on how we learn to love our neighbors. She is graciously allowing me to share them with you here… It seems to me that the easiest way, and perhaps a necessary starting point, to learn how to love […]
Dear readers, when I announced this 31-day project Lucy Alonzo wrote to me with her own thoughts on how we learn to love our neighbors. She is graciously allowing me to share them with you here…
It seems to me that the easiest way, and perhaps a necessary starting point, to learn how to love is by being loved. The best way is from a loving family. If we grow up surrounded by love, and particularly if we are told often that we are loved, and that God loves us, that is ideal — but but unfortunately very rare! Even with the best intentions, we parents tend to fall far short of the goal of nurturing our children that way. Fortunately many children who did not experience much love at home find some one else who fills that role, whether it is a neighbor, a relative, a teacher, a coach, a scout leader.
As I look back over my life (from my current age of 77), one experience of love stands out as most significant. When my youngest daughter was 4, I was having lots of problems, many of them due to choices I had made. One day a friend was visiting, with her 4-year-old son, and while the children played in the fenced yard, we were having coffee and conversation in the living room. We could hear their happy voices so we knew they were having fun. But then we heard water running in the kitchen for what seemed like longer than usual so we went to look. What an appalling mess they had made! They had brought earth from the flower beds onto the back steps landing to make a “garden.” Then they had tried to clean it up — but instead of using a broom, they tried a wet mop. Now, both well covered with mud, they were sitting on each side of the double kitchen sink with their legs in it, and muddy soap suds cascading across the kitchen floor. Well, the visit ended abruptly, and I worked on cleaning up my daughter and the mess she had made — and I did manage to be gentle with her, merely suggesting that if she ever found herself in a similar situation she should ask for my help sooner rather than later! It was while I was mopping the kitchen floor that I had an overwhelming experience — God my Heavenly Father was telling me very clearly that, just as I loved my daughter enough to clean up the huge mess she had made, He loved me and would help me clean up the mess I had been making of my life.