Friday, May 31, 2019

Stop and let the love happen

Recently while visiting with my family in Atlanta, I surprised my grandson, Emerson, by my arrival. He had just finished his breakfast and was in his mother’s arms getting ready to play. He reached for me (you know how my heart melted over that!) and I took him joyfully into my arms, preparing to sit on the floor for his favorite activity – reading a book.

When I received him into my arms, however, he put his head down on my shoulder and got very still. I waited, then realized he was loving me with his whole body. I had been prepared to get right to what we were going to do together, but Emerson had a different plan: he wanted to stop and let love happen first. I surrendered and we stayed in that embrace for a very, very long time.

This lesson from Emerson is one I have to learn over and over again: stop and let the love happen. Like so many in our culture, I am generally oriented toward getting things done. Our internal chronometers compel us to keep moving, keep accomplishing, mindful of the schedule for the day.

The first person to introduce me to this lesson was my Transition Minister from my home diocese of< Georgia. Born in Selma, AL, and a friend of my husband’s family, The Rev. Bob Carter was a slow (and I mean slow) talking Southerner. I was in the process of ordination at the time, so Bob would call me often. When I’d hear his melodic address: “Vaaalllori, this is Booobb Caaaahtuh” my internal chronometer would shut off and I’d stop what I was doing ready to listen for as long as it took. Bob was a loving man, a wise counselor, an experienced priest, and a valued friend. It was always worth attending fully to what he had to say – for as long as it took him to say it.

Relationships deepen when we stop to listen or to let love happen. Sometimes the most important thing we can do is let go of our schedule for the day and notice who or what is seeking our full, loving attention. It may be a hug from a precious baby, or a call from a slow-talking friend. It may be a bird whose song compels us to join it in creation, or a memory of a loved-one that draws us into prayer and remembrance.

There is nothing we can accomplish on our calendars that has more eternal significance than stopping to let love happen, it all its many forms. As we move into the many tasks calling for our attention, I pray we remember to stop and let the love happen and our relationships deepen.

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