Love reads minds, not by magic, but by attentiveness.

by Craig on December 28, 2010

I remember the room

Well lit,

flowers all over,

People I knew, people I didn’t.

I made it a point to greet everyone. My mom taught me to make the rounds when you organize a gathering. I remember, as a kid, hearing her called “hostess with the mostest”.

So I did what my mom taught me. I showed them where they could grab a snack, where the other family members were.  I thanked them all personally and warmly for coming. It was a day of snow, a big snow, and people weren’t traveling. But so many came out. I was grateful.

The room was brimming with people who were all very sorry.

I know this because they kept saying it. They kept saying it to me.

And they kept saying it.

And they kept saying it.

And

they

kept

saying

it.

“I’m sorry Craig.”

After so many of them I began to dread the words. It wasn’t their fault. It was that the words were just skimming off the surface like a pebble on a pond.

I walked to the front of the room.

To the box.

I looked down and in an instant knew it wasn’t my mother there. It wasn’t her anymore. I wasn’t sure yet if she had really understood and accepted the Gospel I tried so hard to share with her before she died. So it was sad, without any of the joy that could compensate if I did know.

It was less than three weeks since she had given everything she had left, to make one last Christmas a happy one. Looking back, it’s the bravest thing I have ever have seen someone do. I wrote about it here.

On this day, “sorry”, didn’t help much.

The most comfort came from people who said nothing.

They’d come up to me, and look me in the eye. If they were a woman they might cup my face in their hands. The men would grab both of my hands and squeeze and nod. That would do it. No “sorry” – just this – usually followed by a vise grip bear hug. They read me carefully before saying anything at all.

I can see Our Lord acting like this, at a time like this. He had this knack for reading minds – not by magic, but by attentiveness.

I was in Seminary when this happened – preparing for ministry. Our Lord lost someone he cared for during his.

When Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled…Jesus wept. (John 11:33,35)

He knew Lazarus wouldn’t be dead long.

But he was paying attention.

They were sad,

and he felt it,

and so he was sad.

They weeped,

and he weeped for their sorrow.

Doesn’t everybody speak with nuances that I can understand if I try? I know Laska the love kitty wants to eat when he sits by the food dish. I understand him in all sorts of ways, and he never says a word. If I can do it for my cat shouldn’t I be able to do it for people. Like Jesus did it for Mary and Martha. Like so many people did it for me.


This is one of those “one day loves”.

Today is the day I remember,

I remember how some people read my mind,

and paid attention.

 

Today I look below the surface.

Because what’s underneath – that’s the big stuff.

Today I’ll try to understand before I speak,

or don’t speak.

Today I pay more attention.

 

Sometimes I worry that it sounds so trite, and superior, and bossy when I say things like, “Today I invite to do this love with me.” As if I’m some sort of love expert and want you to follow me. But it’s not like that at all. I just know that love – love is the thing. And I want to do it everyday – and do it better every day – and I like good company.

So that being said – if you want to give this love a really good shot for a whole day, and just focus on it really hard – that’s what I’ll be doing – so there will at least be two of us.

In God’s love.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie December 28, 2010 at 11:58 am

I love this love too and want to be better at it. I find I’m better at writing it than I am verbally, in person. But Jesus can help me with that, right? Thank you, Craig, for helping us understand love better. I’ll remember that sometimes love doesn’t say anything, that it just looks and understands. :) God bless you and your love of Him!

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Anonymuss December 28, 2010 at 12:54 pm

This is very, very good. It is born of experiences, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing this glimpse from your life and for pointing out the ways we can be more deeply in tune with where others are at any given moment. Its back to that ‘shoe’ thing, isn’t it? ‘Not by magic, but by attentiveness’. I like that! I feel like I can do this kind of love so much better with most people but struggle with a very few people-the ‘bunny’ kind of people perhaps? My love is still broken, then. So I need this assignment-a very hard one with a couple of people in mind.

Tel kreg i unerstand whi this wun koodnt juzt b xtra kredit. it iz too impoartent!!

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Craig December 28, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Thank you Deb. I am only now becoming a really good listener. That thing I wrote in the Christmas Day poem, to be “known” – the way I listen now makes me wonder if I ever really “knew” anyone. God Bless.

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Craig December 28, 2010 at 5:01 pm

A. You caught on to the bunny thing. I thought I was being very subtle about that. I didn’t think anyone would catch it. But yes, the bunnies did a lot of damage. Still have yet to recover. I’m not even sure the bunnies meant to. I look today at why they did what they did and I can see their side. But regardless, the wounds were deep. I forgive. I just hope I don’t make any more bunnies angry. God Bless A.

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Joyce L Gibson December 28, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Someone was attentive to me today. She dropped me off at my house and pulled out of the drive. I went up the drive to the front porch and fell because I could not make it up the step. Unknown to me, she stopped on the street to see if I made it safely to the door. As I struggled to get up, a challenge because there was nothing I could grab to pull me up, she leaped out of the car and flew over the snow and ice to help me. My heart melts as I think of that gesture of love. Thanks, Craig, for putting it in focus.

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Craig December 29, 2010 at 1:02 am

GJ – that is a gesture of love – just so you know I would then have iced the walk, and made you some chicken soup, and cleaned your carpets, and re-shingled your roof – just because I love :)

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Susan December 29, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Yes to love, yes to paying attention, yes to listening-no, *hearing*-with your heart&soul. Seeing and being watchful. Knowing what is needed without a single intrusive word being said. That is love. Saying it doesn’t mean squat without all the above. That’s my take on love,and it is work to some people. To me it is joyful. But I have been told I’m weird&I accept it. I will take my “weird” over other people’s version of “normal” anyday. And I do adore what you write, Craig-know that, whether I say so or not,and sometimes when I stew on it before I answer. I think in many ways you understand my version of weird,and I thank you for that, said or unsaid. HappyNewYear to all…-s-

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Renegades December 31, 2010 at 12:49 am

When my Aunt left us in June after a 10 month battle with cancer she had prepared my children in a way so much better then I feel I could have. She assured them she was going home to be with Jesus and to be with her mom and the other loved ones that had went before her. My kids accepted that and believed that now she was in a better place where there was no more cancer. They didn’t hold the selfishness that I did. The missing her and wanting her here so bad that the letting go was so hard. I learned something from my children after some of the grief lessened that sometimes what we want isn’t what God has in store and it isn’t in the best interest of the person we love. Being pain free and in heaven that was what she deserved and I see that now.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks September 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

Craig,

i know im hopping around your blog, leaving little comments everywhere, kind of like a mischevious little bunny. 😉 and i know you are prob going to get tired of me. forgive me. but i want to learn how to do love. i dont think i learned it from my parents very well at all, even though they were Christians. my mom was rebellious toward my father–her attitude was always so defensive–she was always mad at him and did not do anything for him without steaming over it first and being coaxed like a child. i am trying so hard to change–i was doing so good– but since this illness began, i have little strength for anything else–its easier to be selfish. i dont know what i would do without your blog, Ann’s, and a couple others. this love stuff IS the biggest thing. thank you for that reminder. can i ask you a tiny question? i was wondering why–when i went to your forgiveness post that was linked to Ann’s, and then i press the back arrow to previous posts, why after only a few posts, i am in a post from Dec? just wondering if my computer is doing something crazy.

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Craig September 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm

First, I heart that you’re hopping around my blog like a mischievous little bunny ♥

And of course I’m not going to get tired of you – and love is THE thing. Love IS Christianity. And – as you’ve read – you know I battle with illness that steals strength, and energy – so I get it – I really do – I get yours – even though I don’t know all the details. When you barely have enough energy just for you – it’s hard to give it away.

And your question – I’ve been thinking lately of dropping out of Ann’s Wednesday linky – I already do Monday every week – I might stop doing the Wednesday one – until I decide – I might not write a new one – but just pick an old post on the topic – and then write my regular post on the blog. So that’s why you hit the back button and got older posts – because this one’s an older post. BUt you can’t hit too many older posts – I’ve only been doing this 9 months – but on two blogs – so I guess it’s like 18 ツ So anyway – you are obviously not crazy my friend – just a bunny – and just mischievous ツ God bless you Nacole.

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