Bob Goff’s book, Love Does, will light your fire. It will. So don’t pick it up unless you are ready to strike that match.
This quote describes the thrust of the book: ““Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget… [We need to] just land the plane on our plans to make a difference by getting to the “do” part of faith. That’s because love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does.”
This is at the heart of my Meaning in a Minute website – LOVE IN ACTION. It is a philosophy that I try, with everything in me, to live. Though I don’t always succeed, it’s my goal and life song.
After reading the book with our small group, we decided to do an experiment. Instead of meeting during our designated time slot, we would instead go out and love on some people. No pre-planning, no set agenda, we’d simply use the time to meet a need or for planning to meet a need.
Most of our days are spent planning around ourselves or our families. When do we go out for the exclusive purpose of loving complete strangers, or those who aren’t in our circles?
My husband and I headed to the local Walmart Store. It was a typical evening. Single moms out late night grocery shopping, teens dressed in black walking the aisles, couples holding hands over fried chicken at the deli. The watch and jewelry counter turned out to be the best look out. As we waited, we prayed, “What God? And Who?”
The Walmart staff began to get suspicious of us after a while and started patrolling our area in their royal blue vests. Eyes shifted back and forth as they peered to see if we were attempting to smuggle anything into our bags. I smiled, trying to reassure that we were there for an undercover love mission. I started to get nervous too, with all of their walking around us and all.
Finally, I spotted her. Dark hair drawn back in a pony tail with her bangs wildly flailing across her face, a frustrated woman slammed boxes of mac and cheese onto the self check out counter while barking at her kids to stop running around the console. They barely looked at her, laughed and kept chasing. Her slams got harder, and her voice louder. I waited until she had finished ringing her groceries, then I quietly slid up next to her. Speaking in a low tone, so as not to draw attention, I said, “I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind if I pay for your groceries tonight?” The face of stone turned to one of bewilderment. She looked at me for a long minute, then in low laugh said, “Why would you do that?”
As I fumbled through my short answer about love and God, this woman who began as an angry storm, softened. Now silent and wide-eyed little eyes watched curiously as their mom hugged a stranger and whispered a humble “thank you.” Despite my attempts to be covert, one of the Walmart staff who had been watching us at the watch counter, clapped her hands loudly and with hoots and hollers, sent us off all smiles and high fives.
As the message of the book underscores,
love is contagious- it can’t help itself. People see it and want to be a part of it.
The next stop led us to another grocery store where we met Linda, a jolly Grandma type, over fresh pies. She was explaining how one had to be picky about their pie. We chatted and Linda stopped and commented on my infinity scarf. She’d been hunting for one just like it. God and I smiled as I knew just what our next action was that night.
As I placed my favorite scarf around Linda’s neck, she looked at me from teary eyes and said, “Don’t you ever change, you hear? Not ever. You’re fun. You always live this way. Don’t forget that. Stay this way always and don’t let life take it out of you.” Had I not been on this mission, I would not have noticed Linda standing over the pies. I would still have my scarf, but I would not have those sage words I intend to live out, and that human connection, so much more valuable to me than any article of clothing.
Love does not just give, it returns, tenfold.
Some in our group visited elderly, some paid for gas, others made a basket for someone who is sick, and are also paying for a child to go to a church camp this summer who cannot afford to go.
Love. It’s a verb. Let’s live it.