Who Makes You Feel Loved?

Two weeks ago I asked my oldest, a college sophomore, a very telling question.  I asked it without any expectations of the answer, just on a whim.  I like to give in to whimsy sometimes (that might be my word for 2015–it’s in the running), so when it came to mind, I asked.

“Who makes you feel loved?”

Her first answer was pretty quick.  It was folks who live in this house.  Including siblings–which warmed my heart since I’ve heard some not so nice nicknames tossed out lately, followed by the assurance that they are terms of endearment.  Ahem.  Yeah.  Right.

After she thought about it for a few more minutes she continued adding to her list.

It was beautiful.

I had no idea.

My Mama told me one time when we were talking about a baby coming who was unexpected:  “Every child deserves to be loved.”  Then this woman who never met a child she didn’t love added:  “Every child deserves to see eyes light up when he or she walks into the room.”

Today I was thinking about Mama and how her eyes never failed to light up when I entered a room she was in, even when she was so very sick in the hospital.  And how her eyes absolutely glowed when her grandbabies came around.  Her eyes lit up and her arms flew open, waiting to give each one a big hug, embracing them with her special brand of love.

Tonight I am thankful for those memories.  I wonder if my children will remember my eyes lighting up for each one of them.  If they will know how they are my greatest treasures on this earth. I really hope so.  I give thanks for those who love my children, those who make them feel loved–the ones who take time to care and listen and laugh and sit with them in the dark.  The ones whose eyes light up for children who are not theirs and yet–are.  Thankful for this loving village.

Who needs you to show them they are loved today?  Whose eyes light up when you walk in a room?  Who makes your eyes light up?

Let us all make this a day full of lit-up eyes and showing folks what they mean to us.  Just such small moments can change the world.

Love to all.

 

About Smiles and Being Beloved

Some Sunday nights at our gatherings we talk about hard things.  We attempt to answer hard questions.  We wipe away tears from laughter and from introspection.  And though we may not leave having answers to all of the questions (or some weeks, any), we leave with a sense that we are not alone in our questions and doubts and heartaches and joys.  That is huge.

Truth?

It’s what most of our Sunday evenings look like.

This past Sunday night my pastorfriend shared this video from Phileena Heuertz of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism.

It’s all about hearing ourselves called “Beloved” by the One who created us.  That we are just as loved, each and every one of us, as our Creator loved the Son.

That’s a lot to take in.

While the words said in this clip were powerful, what struck me the most were the faces.  The faces of the people in the video.  When the camera focused on one person and his or her face filled the screen, I found myself searching.  And yearning.

What was I waiting on?  What did I want to see so badly?

And then it came and I knew.

The smile.  One after another.  Their smiles transformed their faces.

I know folks say that eyes are the windows to the soul, and I won’t argue the point.  And while I recognize that tears are truly an intimate thing to share with another person, I realized as I watched each person smile that smiles are the most precious, intimate, and vulnerable things we can give to another person, especially a stranger.  It brings us closer.  Tears can come, and it’s okay if the person sitting with me doesn’t also cry.  But a smile is nearly always shared.  When we are brave enough to share a smile, we wait and hope for one in return.  And we are often crushed if it isn’t.  When each one of these people in the video smiled, so brightly and openly, I found myself smiling right back.  Connected.

And I know this happens every day.   We might not be the best at opening up like that to strangers.  But when we do, it’s rare that we aren’t gifted one right back.

The idea of being beloved.  Of being worthy of being loved.  That’s hard to accept sometimes.  Many times I don’t feel like a beloved. Or like I’m worthy of more than being tossed in a holding pen for a long, much-deserved time out.  Is it hard to feel loved in those moments?  Absolutely.

What if, what if we are one of the ways our Creator shows others they are beloved?  What if we could do just that–look someone in the eyes, smile with all our being, and say to another, “You are beloved.  You bring this world great joy.”

I think that could be just about the most precious thing to be called to.  To tell others they are loved.  By us.  And by the One who breathed life into them. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  There are no “buts” in God’s love for any of us.  Nor should there be any in the love we share with others.

Beloved.

It’s a beautiful, mesmerizing, and life-changing word.

Who needs to hear they are beloved today?  Look in the mirror, hug your friend, smile at a stranger in the checkout line, and tell them.  

You are beloved.  

Love to all.