Will I love more kinds of people than ever before in 2019? This question was posed in my church on Sunday. I sat in my seat, closed my eyes, and focused in. Will I love more kinds of people…? It was a question of diversity. Surely my life is filled with a diverse kind of love, I thought to myself. After all, family diversity and far-reaching inclusivity are my topics of passion.
I’m an international adoptee, mom-by-international adoption, and believer in the power of embracing difference. I think we should, as my church community says, love everyone always.
Yet, we all know that life offers up at least a million different ways in which we can feel excluded, left out on the fringes, and unloved. For anyone who has felt it, exclusion is painful. I understand, intimately, the hurt that accompanies rejection. It’s a very lonely feeling and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
I agree, wholeheartedly, with Mother Teresa who once said that the most terrible poverty in the world is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved and uncared for. She goes on to say that the only cure for these poverties is love.
My work is dedicated to helping individuals connect with a belonging and a love that they’re aching to feel. I believe in the power of love. I believe that love and authentic and inclusive caring is for everyone, not only for some. Yet, there was the question right in front of me. It confronted me for a reason. It wasn’t a coincidence.
Will I love more kinds of people than ever before in 2019?
What does this mean, anyway? To love more kinds of people…? This was my Sunday afternoon meditation. I sat with this question for quite some time. What came to me is that loving more kinds of people doesn’t mean valuing quantity over quality. It’s not a shallow kind of love.
I think it means inviting more different kinds of perspective into our lives—allowing ourselves to step into someone else’s shoes. To be moved, changed for the better by the lessons of their stories and life experiences. Stopping and listening to someone we might, otherwise, have walked by.
It means embracing the homeless, the elderly, the sick, the poor, the struggling mother, the orphaned child, the rebellious son, the absent dad, the hurting daughter, the angry parent—the lonely soul.
Loving more kinds of people means living more like Jesus and less like humans—taking action to love people more even when we think they deserve it the least. It’s a kinder love. A more considerate love. A more committed love. It’s a “there’s always room at my table for you” way of loving.
We can’t truly grow and evolve if we only surround ourselves with like-minded people. Those who look like us, think like us, act like us, or believe just like us. We’ll never be stretched if we shy away from stretching. That’s the beauty of diversity—it calls us to be open. To listen. To hear.
What makes this world an incredible place is the diversity that God has placed here. This diversity is here to teach us to be people who love instead of hate. People who include instead of exclude. People who forgive instead of condemn. People who love everyone always. People who make the decision, daily, to love more than ever before.
I’m adding more diversity into my community this year. God spoke to me in that church service about serving the elderly. Doing more of life with them. Breaking bread with them. Listening to them. Loving them. It dawned on me that the elderly can all too often be erased by society. They can be orphaned, too. I’d like to help reverse that this year, by giving of my time to ensure that they’re seen, valued, and deeply loved.
This was a surprising revelation! It was completely unexpected. Yet, as I evaluated my life and my circle of friends, I realized what God already knew: my circle needs to expand to include those in their twilight years. They need companionship, comfort, and care. Time to love more kinds of people!
How will God grow you in 2019? How are you being invited to expand your heart, your mind, and your spirit? I urge you to answer the calling.
I’m excited to see, in 2019, how His direction will change me and grow me in miraculous and beautiful ways.
Onward to more,