Hey all! Welcome to February’s post, Love First. The pic above is one I had my daughter take of me wearing the present I received in the Meyer cousin gift exchange. What is the Meyer cousin gift exchange you may ask? It’s a pretty sweet tradition on my husband’s side, wherein all of his first cousins exchange presents at Christmas which represent parts of our lives. For instance, I chose gifts from Des Moines shops and local businesses that represent our family. My personal favorite were gifts I chose from a fair trade store. Anyway, I really love the tradition and my cool cousins by marriage continue to carry it out year after year.
The list of givers and givees has increased over the years to include children and spouses. Shout out to sweet Adah for her choice to send me the Choose Love sweatshirt. It was the perfect inspiration for this month’s post. At first, I chose it because it connects great with the holiday that is Valentine’s Day. I thought, “How perfect is this for a visual aid?” Then, I began to think about what the slogan meant. The sweatshirt comes from Adah’s dad’s church. Paul, I don’t know much about the church you work in, but I can’t think of a better slogan for a true Christ following church: Love First.
So what does Love First mean to me? Simply put. Love in action. Love for our planet and the amazing resources it gives us every day. You Christians who say global warming isn’t a thing are like ostriches sticking your head in the sand. You seriously think a God who told his original peeps to care for a single garden doesn’t expect his people to do the same today in a wider context? To me Love in Action for our Planet looks like using sustainable resources, shopping at thrift stores to reuse as much as possible, and taking simple steps like saving unused drinking water instead of pouring it down the drain to water my indoor plants. Love First includes our planet, people.
Love First also means thinking about the people we hold most near and dear to our hearts, our families. A good friend from college and I used to chat about how it’s so easy to treat those we live under the same roof as family. We didn’t mean it in a good way. We meant in the way where you take each other for granted, let your anger over a single wrong word or misstep fester and stew, or keep repeating the same unhealthy patterns over and over again. With my daughter who over apologizes when she’s done something wrong, I’ve come up with the perfect catch phrase,” People who love each other don’t need to say sorry, they just need to do better next time.” I wholly subscribe to this idea that Love First means more than saying I”m sorry, it means working to show you truly are sorry.
Finally, because this post is getting entirely too long, I’ll wrap up with my last Love First thoughts. In the end, it also applies to people we don’t get - those individuals who are so unlike us that we choose to ignore or marginalize them. It's all too easy to dismiss the gal who freely speaks her mind, or the guy who comes across as egocentric but is really just hiding behind all kinds of insecurities, or the kid whose anxiety has him behaving in a less than appropriate way in school. As a teacher, I had to look past all kinds of initial impressions to dig deep and find the gold at the center of each one of these types of students. Love First means giving people you may tend to hold at arm’s length a fighting chance to show you why you need their fresh insight and perspective in your life.
Love First. It’s a great sweatshirt, Adah, and I thank you for sending it my way and giving me a topic for this month's post. Take care everyone. ‘Til next time.