I called my parents last night to check in, and after talking with my mom for nearly forty-five minutes the phone was passed to my dad, who started the conversation with, “It’s so good to hear your voice – you’ve really been weighing on my heart lately.” This is not the way we normally talk – ever – so to hear this from him was a bit of a shock.
When I talk to my dad on the phone, to the untrained ear it may sound like we are two strangers who have just met at a party: the conversation may feel halted, bland, and at times uncomfortable. We usually don’t express emotions and we usually don’t say how we’re feeling – we talk about action: what we’ve done, what we’re doing, what we’re going to do, what we’re going to fix and how we’re going to fix it. So when my dad started with, “It’s so good to hear your voice…” I was unsure of what to say.
My dad started the conversation with an unexpected expression of emotion, and I was surprised by the moment. But as I said my goodbye I realized how expected this moment should have been for me. The truth is, within my inner-most being I am understanding my Father’s unexpected expression of emotion for Me, and I am walking in joy and contentment of this fullness of understanding. With every passing moment I’m realizing how much I am loved and how much I am in love with the people in my life.
It hit me a few nights ago, apropos of nothing, and I was filled with a feeling of deep love for everything and everyone. It was as if peace and joy and love were poured into my soul and mind and heart and I had a sudden urge to give all this love away. It is overflowing and I don’t desire for any to fall on the wayside – I want to give it to others. I want to greet everyone with a hug, a kiss, and a boisterous “I love you!”
It’s a weird thing, this new found love, and I’m not sure what to do with it. I’d sound like a lunatic to tell the clerk at H-E-B that I love him, that he’s doing a great job, and that I’m so glad I picked his check-stand. I’m sure my classmates would report me to the Dean of Students if I just ran around hugging everyone I saw on campus. I’m sure my professors would fail me if I greeted them with a holy kiss at the start of class.
How do I express this love? I can start by having a huge smile on my face when I see my friends for the first time today, and for the second time today, and for the third…I can show them how truly excited I am to have them in my life. I can tell my classmates how grateful I am to have them walking with me on this journey. I can ask that H-E-B clerk how her day is going and truly thank her through the tone in my voice.
I can tell my classmate that it’s okay to ask me ‘what the professor just said’ a million times more. I can empathize with my friend’s failed plans and uncertain loves and say, “I understand, I’ve been there, too.” I can tell the ones in my life who are hurting that I will drive them to the doctor, the clinic, or the ER. I can tell my dear friend who is burdened that yes, the weight is heavy, but that she’ll only have to carry it a while longer. I can tell my friend how wonderful the daily texts of jokes are for me.
I can see – actually see – the homeless woman on the street corner, and I can offer her up in prayers to God. I can sit and listen to the struggles of strangers and let them have someone to talk to. I can be comfortable in the presence of my married friends and not feel like a 3rd, 5th, or 7th wheel. I can compliment my professor on their depth and breadth of knowledge and strive to emulate her. I can encourage my friend as she struggles to understand her faith.
In the words of Brennan Manning, “I have been seized by the power of a great affection,” and I cannot help but pour out this affection into the world. I can write letters, send texts, make phone calls, sit in hospitals, laugh with, lift up, buy lunch, give high-fives, tell jokes, and truly express my love – and God’s love – to others.
much love. sheth.