There is so much to fear. Snakes and spiders. Tornadoes and hurricanes. Hunger and war.
Sometimes, I think we fear other people more than anything else.
Sometimes, we feel trapped by our fear. Shackled.
Nothing in the world has the potential to hurt us the way other people do.
Loving someone means putting yourself at risk. Loving the people around you means giving them a piece of your heart. They may be kind and loving to your heart. They may be cruel and insensitive.
Loving people means caring about them, too. Caring about them means shouldering their hurts. Their sickness. Their faults.
Caring means that you begin to see the sad eyes of others you don’t know personally. Caring means that the plight of folks in countries far away pulls on your heart and sometimes brings you to your knees.
Pushing past the fear of others means that you care about the lady in the next dressing room who is crying because nothing in the store fits.
Loving others is a pretty scary place to find yourself. Loving others means baring your heart and bearing burdens.
It’s easier to hide. It’s safer to pretend that you didn’t hear the crying. Avoid eye contact.
But, fearing others leaves you in a sad, lonely place.
Love and courage may very well be risky, but it is a better way.
I smile at strangers, knowing my smile might be the only one that is shared.
I talk to sales clerks at the local store and learn their stories, the young girl fighting morning sickness while ringing up my purchase. I take home my groceries and a bit of her burden.
I find myself loving the folks in my life as if they were family, the friends of old and new as well as the folks from church. I rejoice at the births, I share the burdens and joys of everyday life, and I mourn with the losses we all face.
Loving all of these people helps me love my family better. Loving my family better helps me love my husband better.
All this love stuff, well, it’s been said before. Much more eloquently. By Someone much more important. I’m just passing the message on.
I’ve chosen to live with love and courage. It’s pretty great.
Smile at someone today. Go on. Push past the fear and choose love.