February // 11 ways you send out love into the world
- Praying for those who need it. I don’t pray a lot, and I don’t pray in a traditional way (I like to think of them as verbal letters to God that I say in my head), but when I do pray, it tends to be for those I know who are in need of extra love because they are sick or going through hard times. I also tend to pray for my friends who are pregnant, but that’s just me.
- I donate money to causes that help people. I like to choose charities that are well regarded, highly rated, and whose work will make a difference in someone’s life directly. Donations that I made in December are bearing out real fruit already.
- I do active specific things as well – when I helped out on a Habitat for Humanity rebuild, it was with love that I tore down a faux-brick wall. It was with love that I used a saw-saw to destroy old cabinets. It was with love that I painted that living room. Yesterday, it was with love that I decorated Valentines cookies for those who are home-bound from my church.
- The Boy’s daughters are not my daughters. I don’t show them too much physical affection or tell them schmaltzy things because I feel like that isn’t my place. But every day we have them in the morning, as I leave I tell them to “have a good day at school”. It’s my own secret way of telling them “I care about you and what your life is going to be like today.” It’s like the Princess Bride, where “As You Wish” secretly means “I Love You”, only this time, it’s “Have a Good Day at School” meaning, “I want every good thing for you”.
- I try to smile at everyone I see. Not in a creepy way, but in a “Oh – you look nice!” way. Having strangers smile at me has always made me feel better about myself, so I try to do that for others as well.
- I chat with service workers who are helping me out. A someone who worked in retail when I was in college, I know that the day to day can get monotonous. Even a quick conversation can brighten your attitude. I don’t do it if the person seems really down, but if they engage – that’s it. I’m finding something to chat about.
- There’s a little white cat without a collar who wanders around our neighborhood. Winston hates him (mostly because I think he’s jealous of cats who have more freedom than he does), but I give the little white cat a small amount of food each time he comes to our door. Someday he’ll let me pet him. That little white cat and I are going to be friends.
- I am slowly but surely meeting my neighbors and trying to be the kind of person they will want to stop and chat with when they see me outside or walking around the neighborhood. I always get a warm feeling from knowing that there are people nearby who know and care about me a little bit. Surely my neighbors feel the same way too.
- This one isn’t happening right now – but baseball game invitations. Baseball games are an hours-long affair. I don’t bring someone to a game with me unless I know I can stand to be around them for that long. This will end up being people that I like and care about and want to spend more time with. It’s a secret and subtle way of telling them that they matter in my life.
- Postcards. I used to be better and more prolific about this, but when I traveled, I used to send postcards to all my dear friends. Yes, it could potentially be seen as smugly showing off my ability to travel, but I like to think of it as an opportunity to let people know that I am thinking about them and caring for them even from a great distance.
- The people I love? I tell them how much they mean to me. Apart from when I’m with the boy, I tend not to say “I love you”. But I try to make a concerted effort of telling people how much I appreciate them, or what they might be doing for me. How grateful I am to have a friend or family member like them in my life. Because you can’t put off saying that kind of thing forever.
BONUS ITEM 12: I realized the other day after sending out our wedding invites and posting the picture of the stamps and stuff on Instagram that I was too early with my caption there, as all the invitations were stamped with “LOVE”, and I had literally sent out “love” into the world!
So that’s me. And it’s hard to think about ways to put love into the world. How do you do it in your life – how do you put love into the world?
Details: This post is part of Project Reverb 2017, which sends out monthly (and sometimes daily during a month-long challenge in December) writing prompts for bloggers. If you’re interested in participating, sign up here.