Words of Hope: Love is in the One on One

I have had a long break from Words of Hope for various reasons. Primarily, I needed to regain my footing. I had to accept an award on behalf of my dad, and I was surprised how much this grieved me. Also, my daughters are leaving home. The last one is now off to college. I read that emotional pain hits us physically and I have experienced this. It’s like a car wreck. I am a grief survivor learning to relive in ways I didn’t imagine. Part of me imagined Dad less finitely, more stable, and forever. I know he is fully alive, and this is a passing moment apart, but the shock of the grief continues to surprise me. This is true now with the change in the home. Over twenty-six years of kids daily in our house, now ending. A change, a difference, and a reimagining.   

Words of Hope has been a solace for me to remember my dad and to honor his legacy. It has also been a time to encourage others to be faithful, to seek God, to pursue hope, to live with exuberance and joy like my father.  

Of all the different gifts Dad gave me, I believe he showed how to love people incredibly well. He understood that love is in the one-on-one, knowing someone’s name and story, spending time listening, calling, texting, praying for each person. This singular focus of loving one-on-one has challenged and inspired me. What does loving one-on-one look like?  

I have been meditating on this with my family. I made a small journal with their names. I wrote down what they need emotionally from me that would be a loving gift. Not just words or presents, but emotional safety, presence, listening, compassion, honoring their space, and recognizing their talents.  I also made a list of what they need me to NOT do, things that ruin our love. Critique is at the top of the list. Judging, nagging, aggression, pushing, prying, pressing, and wanting my way. Not only these but understanding the underlying lack of love in these categories stemming from pride, ambition, or wanting to be right more than wanting to be in connection.  

I take time to pray about each family member and how I can love them more fully and completely with Christ’s love. 

Listen instead of talk 
Serve instead of nag 
Give instead of take 
Full instead of empty 
Gratitude instead of complaining 
Joyful instead of bitterness 
Peaceful instead of anxious 
Complete instead of needy 
Disciplined instead of overreaching 
Present instead of distracted 

This begins by fixing my eyes of Jesus. My “hard” work and bootstrap plan will fail on my own strength. This kind of loving requires seeking first my Savior and the rest will be overflowing joy. 

“May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13