How to Love: Others

Thursday, February 16, 2012

(The back of my car, full of love.)

How do we love others? You know, The Others: People who are not in our social circles, who do not have as much money, who are not as educated, and who live in different neighborhoods.

How do we love others?

One answer: Let them love you.

I learned this a couple weeks ago when I was at the Florence Crittenton House. We asked the girls to make valentines for kids at the local pediatric hospital. I brought construction paper, stickers, cut-outs and glue. I talked to them about the hospital, and without thinking about it, mentioned, "I've got a friend with a baby there now. He had surgery, and is going to be fine, but he will be there for a while. I know it has been tough on his parents, so when you are making these, think about how they will cheer up the kids and their parents."

Looking at the room full of pregnant teenagers, I almost immediately regretted saying that.

"I hope my baby doesn't have to have surgery. That makes me scared," said one girl.

I reassured her that surgery on a baby is quite unusual. Her pregnancy so far has been great; no need to worry about rare events. She seemed pleased, and then asked if she could make a valentine for her boyfriend.

I asked if she would please make one for the sick children, first. She agreed.

The girls dove into the sparkly paint, and got quite creative. They drew frog-prince pictures and cut hearts of all sizes. We were spread out on the floor, everyone hunched over her own creation. Then one girl asked, "What is the name of your friend's son?"

I wasn't sure what she meant.

"Your friend. The one in the hospital. What is her baby's name?"

I told her, and she bent back over her card. She made her card for him. She spelled his name with stickers, and wrote, "Somebody Loves U." She started a trend in the room, and soon others were asking how to spell his name, too.

I was so touched, and I could feel yet another layer of ignorance peel away from my eyes. What a lesson: Love is personal and others have love to give. She took my lesson of "let's do something nice for others," and shot it to the moon. She took something vague and generic and made it pinpoint specific. She changed the activity from nameless to named.

More importantly, she reminded me that love isn't a one way street. Having more stuff doesn't mean I'm the only one who knows how to share. It doesn't make me the teacher of "this is how we give." It just means I have more stuff, and I've got a lot to learn.

How do you love others?

Linking with:
because this writing this post made me feel really vulnerable.

Thought Provoking Thursday at


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12 Responses to “How to Love: Others”

  1. such a thoughtful post; the love of God always finds a way to melt the hearts... thanks!
    Visiting from

  2. What a lovely post! How wonderful that they were able to reach beyond themselves and think to touch someone else - what a blessing you must be to them!

  3. Love isn't a one-way street. This is good. So often we forget that we NEED to let others love us, to accept their gifts, because it is good for them and it is good for us to receive the gift of God's love in this way too.

    Such a sweet story here. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Kristin@ Bring Pretty BackFebruary 16, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    What a beautiful story!
    Have a pretty day!

  5. Oh, I love this story. Beautiful and heartwarming. And I am sure you were a blessing to those girls.

  6.  Beautiful post Courtney :)

  7. This is such a beautiful story.  Makes me want to be in that room with you and the girls!  I can feel the love and acceptance...  

  8. Tara_pohlkottepressFebruary 16, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    "Having more stuff doesn't mean I'm the only one who knows how to share" - - Love this!! 

  9. What a beautiful story!  I think most people feel at a loss to give when they are so overwhelmed with their own need.  But this was a great thing for you to suggest.  I loved how they joined in to help another.

    Thanks for sharing!  I'm here from Bonnie's Faith Barista Jam.

    blessings and love,

  10. Hi, Aurie. Yes, the way they reached out was impressive. I don't feel like a blessing to them; my part is so small. But then again, they really taught me something with one small gesture so I guess the small things matter?

  11. Awesome. I love the lessons you shared here. This can be so hard to remember sometimes: "Love is personal and others have love to give."

  12. Wow! I'm all lit up inside. Such a beautiful time you all had. "Love is personal and others have love to give"...thank you for this.

    So many heart lessons I'll take with me from your words. Thank you Courtney :-))