At the very essence of our being is the desire, the yearning, to be loved.
It is a part of our makeup, our DNA, our creation.
What does that really mean for us as a people who often find themselves among strangers?
I am blessed. I grew up with a father who never met a person he didn't know. He would joke and talk with anyone around. My earliest memories are of conversations with people standing in line together, his waves at workers holding road signs as we passed through construction zones, his silliness at trying to communicate with border agents as we traveled through Europe on our family vacations.
I learned from him. I didn't really know what I was doing. I was simply following in my Father's footsteps.
That lesson has served me well in business and life. I learned to invest quickly into others lives and hopefully make their day a little brighter. But I've never felt like I do enough, care enough, give enough, love enough.
We are all born with different innate abilities, desires, longings. No two people will ever be the same. It is a blessing and a curse for us as humans. How do we interact with each other? How do we make a connection that creates a bond? How is this life supposed to look?
I struggle with this.
I have been in industries where the image you project means everything. It doesn't really matter what is going on behind the scenes if the goods are selling.
I've seen fame and fortune exchanged for relationship. Money and power chosen over building a dream. Fast fixes and faster cars chosen over family.
I have lived myself unseen, unknown in the midst of a crowd.
It is a sad commentary on our choices. Those we make ourselves and the others we are left to deal with.
Days are busy, we have so many options for "connecting" and "being up to date" yet, I find more lonely, lost and unknown people than ever before.
We don't "see" each other. We go through life checking in and checking out. Posting statuses of our daily exploits, latest finds and political points.
This isn't about having friends or the tally on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account. For the most part, my life is filled with people who share a common experience with me, but some and honestly probably most of them are only something as negligible as a job title or a place of work.
How do we find those deeper connections? Those places where we feel truly "seen", where everyone or someone knows YOUR name, YOUR heart or a place where you really know you are making a difference?
I think for me, it comes down to us as individuals. It comes down to us learning to follow in the truest Father's footsteps.
It begins with love.
A love that is deeper, stronger and surer than any I will ever be able to match on my own. One that died for me because of this love. One that daily intercedes on my behalf and welcomes me in each time I call, even if I haven't said "thank you" for the thousand times before.
One I wish I could replicate on this earth, at this time, in this place, in my daily relationships.
But I can't.
I am not God.
I do not have the power to always see beyond the upsets, the wrongs, the lies. I fail.
The gift that I do have to offer is the choice of truly seeing those around me; to see them through His eyes. To not see gender, affluence, influence or the lack thereof, but to love as Jesus loved. He sought out the outcasts, the "worst of sinners", the lonely. He ate with tax collectors, prostitutes and doubters and yet called them to a better life through love. It is a challenge to live beyond surface style in the face of my busy day.
It is a sacrificial type of living. One that calls for the laying down of my wants and desires, to be used without glory or fame and often times at great cost whether it be financial, time wise or the list can go on and on.
There have been God moments in my life, y'all. Times when I was able to step outside of my craziness and be there for someone. It sometimes made me late, it sometimes made my children grumpy, but it is all so worth it when you feel that you were able to be that ray of sun to someone's gloomy day.
We all want to be acknowledged, heard and feelings felt and shared. We build our connections up so high and then deflate when they're torn down. We only esteem the high value targets of those on the big stage or screen. We forget those of us who aren't born to live in the limelight, those of us who aren't meant for or need to be front and center, but were created to be the hands and feet, eyes, ears and the internal workings of God's plan. We aren't flashy and bright.
We are to be whole beings. Filled from the inside with a love so pure, so free that we can give ourselves away without worry.
We were made to BE love. Not just experience it, but feel it, show it and live it. For most of us, that will be in the simple encounters of our every day life. Those people we run into at the grocery store, our neighbors down the street, the kids that come into our home. It won't be from a big stage or under a million lights, but that one solitary person standing right in front of us at this moment and in this time.
But that is valuable!
We have the opportunity to really be in someone's life. To walk with them down a road for a time, to help them find a place of refuge and peace. It doesn't mean we go and preach to everyone we meet. Our lives should speak for themselves. We should be so full of love, that it draws others in and draws them out. We should live a love that goes past the fluff and the distractions. One that sees deeper.
That is what I want to aim for. A chance to follow in my Father's footsteps. To love like He loves, to welcome like He welcomes, to go where He went. To the needy, the picked on, the outcast as well as those who seem to have it all together. I want my life to be on that says,
"I don't know your name, but I love you.
I see you.
You are known and of great value."
That is my goal in this life, to be just like my Father and my Father's Father.