“You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.”
When We Need to Love a Little Deeper
I asked my friend how she was doing.
No, really, I said. How ARE you?
Her child had been sick — scary sick — and I could only imagine how scared and stressed and exhausted she must have felt. Though I’d offered help in various ways, she’d politely refused. As a matter of fact, I was at her house while she helped me with something. But still I longed to do something for her, to make her feel better in some way.
How are you, really? I pressed.
She told me that she was okay, although not good. She admitted that when friends had asked her the same question at church the day before, she had tried to describe the anxiety and the fear she was experiencing, but they looked at her blankly. As if they had no idea what she was talking about. As if they’d never felt a little crazy themselves.
I hugged my friend and told her firmly — because I meant it deeply: If someone says they’ve never felt a little crazy, they are either lying or boring.
She laughed and thanked me for understanding.
When I think about my various friends and the crises we’ve walked through together — or watched each other face — I can’t help but think of the give and take of friendship.
I think of how many times I’ve been the one in need of a hug or last-minute babysitting or a hot meal. And I think of all the different ways I’ve been loved well by friends — and all the ways I’ve been able to show them love as well.
Different challenges call for different solutions, just like different personalities and relationships call for different approaches. Sometimes a friend needs tangible assistance — childcare, dinner in a box, a gift card to the grocery store. Sometimes she just needs encouragement — an email, a note in the mail, some flowers or her favorite drink from Sonic. But other times? She needs something deeper. She needs to be heard, to be understood, to be held.
My friend felt crazy that day we talked at her front door — even more so because she hadn’t been given the understanding and acceptance we all crave. So I stopped offering her dinner. And I didn’t lie to her and say that her feelings and her situation weren’t overwhelming and even crazy. I just said that it’s okay to be crazy, that I’ve felt crazy before, that I loved her and her family no matter what.
Loving each other deeply requires different things at different times. So our job is to look for opportunities to show that love and then show up the way others have done for us, the way Jesus does for us every time.
Who can you love deeply today?