Dear reader, there are so many things I should be doing right now but I need to stop and spend a moment here, even if briefly. The other day I went for a run and my thoughts turned to how much my world has changed in the past two years. Sometimes it seems as if I'm trapped in one of my beloved snow globes and someone is shaking it, hard. Life is still filled with goodness and beauty, but it has also trifled with my capacity to handle everything that's been coming my way. Lately, it's rattled me to the core.
As I ran along, wondering what to do with all this desperation, a memory came to mind of something nice I once did for someone. Suddenly, I started recalling when life felt simpler and such gestures factored more routinely into my day. It made me think: couldn't I possibly find the time to do something like that again? Given I felt I was drowning in the various concerns and responsibilities on my plate, this seemed like a rather incongruous conclusion. But I did it anyway...and I tell you, I've been feeling somewhat better ever since.
This morning I came across these words from Thomas Monson, president of the LDS church: Love is the very essence of the gospel, the noblest attribute of the human soul. Love is the remedy for ailing families, ill communities, and sick nations. Love is a smile, a wave, a kind comment, and a compliment. Love is sacrifice, service, and selflessness.
Love is not a new concept, of course, but somehow this revelation came to me out of the ether, like a long forgotten dream. Showing love to others, whether in large or small ways, is always significant. There's a power in giving and receiving it that seems able to transform one's outlook or way of experiencing reality, even when nothing about the reality actually changes.
We're in the month of February, dear reader. I've always had a special place in my heart for the pink and frill of valentines, the handwritten note, the tiny gesture, the infinite possibilities of love. I'm reminded now, too, of how it strengthens me to look for extra ways to put love out there, perhaps especially when it seems the most illogical move would be to take on one more task.
I once read a biography of Mother Theresa and was deeply touched by her memories of childhood, of her mother who kept the family table open to anyone who was hungry from their little Macedonian village. I don't know if I'll ever live up to such an example of goodness, but I can see it's in giving of myself that I'll be strengthened to deal with everything else that's going on, that something better and more beautiful happens when we find ways to reach out to others and let them know we care.