meadowrueflowerWhat makes you feel loved?

Chocolate? Flowers? A foot rub?

For me this week, it was a jumbo-sized case of premium strength paper towels. A dearly loved friend lugged them up my front porch steps along with a plate of ooey-gooey, double thick Rice Crispie treats, bags of potato chips, a pot roast and ham, and high-sugar-cereal for my kids. Oh, and did I mention the toilet paper?

Yah, that’s love. Especially when it comes with a story!

See, when my friend was newly married, she couldn’t afford paper towels for the holder fasted to the kitchen wall of her tiny rental apartment. Well, each and every day, that empty holder screamed just how poor my friend was until she finally bought a roll of towels and slid them in place–just to shut up the nasty voice in her head. She never touched the towels.

I had to laugh. Truth be told, I haven’t bought paper towels in more than a year, with the exception of a Labor Day weekend camping trip. Yet here I am, blessed with an entire case!

I can’t get over how often God encourages me through friends with such love. Like my neighbor this week who took my three-year-old to help work in her downtown candy shop with instructions for me to take a nap! She even insisted I drop off my three-month-old a couple hours later so I could go to the dentist and (with the help of her adult daughter) picked up my fifth-grade daughter from the bus stop. Never mind that she had an entire store to run.

It doesn’t take a village to raise a child (or write a book or take a nap…); it takes love. Totally free, I’ve-done-nothing-to-earn-it, I-am-valued-and-seen-and-cared-for love. What a gift when we are able to both  give and receive it.

A new book by pastor Kevin DeYoung, Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem (Crossway) points out the danger of just how busy we are. I haven’t read the book, but as as Alissa Wilkinson mentions in her review of it in this month’s Christianity Today, when someone asks, “How are you?” the most likely response used to be something like, “I’m doing well. How about yourself?” Now, the new default answer is, “Busy.”

Yikes! How often do I find myself saying this exact thing. Yet how can I truly love people if my life is too busy? When I read the Gospels I don’t ever find Jesus rushing between appointments or answering his cell phone in the middle of a conversation with someone else. The love he displayed is just like my friends’: slow love. The type of love that walks along the road together. The type of love that cooks fish. Had Jesus had a pot roast, I’m sure he would have roasted that for his friends instead. Probably not so much the ham.

So, whatever makes you feel loved, I encourage you to take the challenge with me to slow down and share it with others–whether it’s chocolate or roses or paper towels. And when someone asks how you are, let them know. Really know.

Thanks Wendy and Joan, I love you too!

 “Above all, love each other deeply,” I Peter 4:8.

 So, what makes you feel deeply loved? Share!