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Thoughts on Loving

Loving. It seems like such a simple concept. But those who have mastered the act of loving are close to non existent. I'm not so much talking about the love between a husband and a wife, a father and a son, or the love between two friends?I'm talking about love in a more general sense. The love that isn't concerned with what it will get in return, for there can be no expectations with this type of love. I'm talking about the love of mankind, the love of people?merely because they are God's, and they deserve to be acknowledged in such a way. The love that I believe Jesus possessed as he walked from town to town, meeting strangers, touching lepers, noticing the unnoticed.

I knew a guy once who possessed this type of love. Our friendship was brief, but it opened my eyes to a new way of loving. This guy worked a regular job, 8-5, 6 days a week. The only way he seemed to break free from his routine, mundane patterned life, was through his ability to love. As he would describe his day to me, it was filled with images of people who had touched his life that day. The tattooed fellow he worked with, or the teeny bopper high schooler that always had some drama in her life?these were the very things that filled his day with beauty. He found beauty in the lives of those around him. He took so much interest in the people that he came in contact with?and in return, their lives and stories blessed him beyond measure. He learned to love people, to consider them greater than himself, to show genuine interest, and to act upon it?and by loving people his life was filled to overflowing.

I'm learning to love in this kind of way. I'm learning to take interest in the people God brings my way. Most of us are likely to walk into a room focused on finding someone to take interest in us. I don't believe Jesus lived with such a mindset. He was the type of man who walked into a room searching for someone to love, someone to take interest in.

Today, as I spent my evening with a crowd of inner city middle school kids, I took some time to practice this way of loving. I found a girl named Amanda who I couldn't help but notice. Only eleven years old, she stood about 5 feet 10 inches tall. She seemed to be trying to hide, for I noted her fluffy blonde hair hanging in her eyes as she walked around head looking to the ground. I stood beside her as she leaned against the wall?and I made the choice to love her as much as I knew how. It's amazing how practical love can be. I had to concentrate hard in order to block out all the other noises and children that were running all around, until all I saw was her. She had my full concentration, and she deserved it. We started talking small and stuck to the basics- about school, friends, pets?aaaaaah, I had hit a spark. Pets. She had 8 dogs, and she loved those dogs so much. And because she loved those dogs, I wanted to know all about them. That started our 15 minute conversation about her 7 Chihuahuas and one miniature terrier. She magically lit up as she told about her beloved animals, and I lit up at the opportunity of getting to know Amanda, and learning to make her feel that she was the most important person to me at that moment. Here was this intricate, unique girl- with likes and dislikes unique to her alone?passions and dreams, favorite ice cream flavors and most embarrassing moments?she was one and only. People deserve to feel special, because they are. God looks down at each precious and unique child that he has made, and he desires for them to feel loved in such a way.

I'm learning that it is my job to show that kind of love, through genuine interest in the people I come in contact with. It is my job to look around and see beautiful people, with their unique quirks, looks, hobbies, and stories. Not only do they deserve to be loved, they were made for it. Let us reevaluate... have we learned to love?

Debra Rashid is employed as a counselor at a local hospital, working with at risk youth. She has a passion for the urban community and volunteers much of her time working with inner city youth and families. She hopes her writings will be a source of encouragement and motivation to those who read them.

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