Are you intentionally choosing to love well?
Even as I write this, it's 3:00am.
You see, each night, I wake up to go check on my oldest son who has type 1 diabetes. I check his blood sugar and respond appropriately to the number his glucose meter tells me. On a normal night, I'm watching for diabetic lows. On abnormal nights, I'm making sure he's got the insulin he needs to protect against something called ketones. Both lows and ketones could result in death if they're not properly treated.
Each day, I have a little argument with myself. I argue about whether or not I should just stay in bed and get some sleep, but every single time I choose get up. There have been numerous times when my choice to get up has actually saved his life.
On a really good night, I'm able to check his blood sugar quickly and fall back into bed (and to sleep) quickly. Other nights (like tonight), I'm up for the day at 2am because I simply can't fall back to sleep.
There's something special about writing on loving others with intention while being awake after loving my son in this way. You see, most nights he doesn't even know I'm there. But on the nights when he does realize my presence, I'm greeted with the biggest and most grateful hug. In his own little six-year-old way, he's so incredibly grateful for my vigilance. (From what I hear, his dad gets the same treatment a little earlier in the night too).
Most of the time, my husband's and my vigilance goes unnoticed.
But I think there's something about those unnoticed times that truly speaks of loving well. I find that a lot of the time, love (while appreciated) generally does go unnoticed or it's simply taken for granted.
Even when I look at Jesus' ministry, I notice a whole crowd of people that focuses more on the miracles that Jesus could do rather than His presence. Miracles are pretty cool, but isn't God's presence even better? The Son of God was amongst them, but they focused more on His hands rather than His face. The true gift of Jesus' ministry was His presence, not the miracles.
When I think of the love we take for granted, I think about how we expect others to love us in one way, but if they don't love us in that exact way, we dismiss or even reject their love.
So how can we love well if our love is unnoticed or taken for granted?
We Love Through Our Time. Jesus gave His presence day in and day out. Whether people realized the beauty of His presence or whether they took it for granted, He still offered it. How often do you give of your time to love others well? How often do you set your to-do list aside to give your family…YOU? Our families are never going to remember our to-do lists, but they will remember the many memories made through those moments when we offered them our time.
We Love Through Our Attention. These days we are overrun with distraction. Many of us carry our cellphones with us wherever we go. We play games. We check text messages. We giggle at memes. We check emails. We spend so much of our time looking away from the people we're seeking to love. What would happen if we all just set aside the distractions and gave our loved ones our full and undivided attention? What would we notice if we offered our undivided attention?
We Love Through Our Thoughtfulness. When we offer our time and our attention, being thoughtful means showing our loved one that we truly noticed them. We notice when they're upset, discouraged, stressed, happy, joyful, accomplished, etc. Our thoughtfulness is looking them in the eye and proving that we listen, notice, and care about them.
None of this is revolutionary. In fact, many would argue that this is Conversation 101 or even Relationship 101. This is basic stuff, right?
But in a world that is fast-paced and pressed for time, genuine connection is becoming a rarity. We live in a world that is saturated with distraction, so when we slow down enough to notice the tiny details of our loved one, we are doing something that's kind of revolutionary: we're choosing to love well.