I went for my morning walk today, despite the couple inches of snow on the ground from a persistent late-winter blanketing we are getting this week. (AND I AM LOVING!) 🙂 I was up pretty early to help Julia and then just decided to head out for a nice brisk walk with my iPod shuffle to keep me company.
About half-way through the first part of my walk (I walk 1.3 miles east, and then turn around and walk the 1.3 miles back home for a total of 2.6 miles…) I was just enjoying the podcast I was listening to when I noticed an older lady shoveling her driveway. It’s been warmer the past couple days (even though it was snowing) so I knew that snow was heavy for her! When I got closer, I noticed she was even older than I thought, so I stopped my iPod, and said, “Good morning!”
She looked up and smiled at me, and returned my greeting. I said, “Can I help you with that?” pointing to her shovel and the snow-filled drive-way. She sort of laughed and said, “No, no… I’m fine. I just do this for my neighbor.”
(At that point, I was very impressed…) 🙂
We talked a bit more about our neighborhood, the weather, and shoveling snow. I asked her once more if I could help, saying, “I’m out here to excercise, so I’d be glad to do it!” But she refused again with a smile, and so I said good-bye and continued on.
The rest of the walk was filled with a few more out-of-the-ordinary events – including a visit with an old friend, and giving directions to someone who was lost. But what I wanted to write about here were the thoughts that circled about my head and heart during the moments following my brief encounter with my nice elderly neighbor.
Why did I stop to help her? Was it so I could invite her to my church? (HA!) 🙂 Was it so I could just tell her that God loves her? Was it simply to show her that God loves her? How about just because I should? Or maybe because I know Jesus did so much for me, so I should do that for him, and for others? Was it guilt-induced, or an obligation (to God) or even due to an expectation that I or others have put on myself to “do the right” thing as a Christian?
As I was walking away, I realized that I had absolutely no agenda, or any other reason for helping that lady other than I could, and it was a nice thing to do. 🙂 That’s it. I didn’t want anything from her, or of her. I was not meeting anyone’s expectations (including my own)… I wasn’t repaying some cosmic debt I owe to Jesus for “all that he has done for me”. I was just loving her. Just to love. Just to be nice.
It’s nice to be nice says Pig Will. (long story…)
So what I ended up thinking was (and perhaps this was prompted by Holy Spirit, perhaps not) are we able to love in proportion to how much we know we are loved? If we really get how much God loves us, how much we mean to him… are we then all the more free to just love people as our Father loves us? Not necessarily because (read: post-facto) he loves us… but more “in the same way as” he loves us.
I really don’t have any conclusions on this… those were just my thoughts. I would really love to hear yours on this…
Do we love other people in proportion to how much we know we are loved?