Living to Love Update

It’s amazing to me that we’re already nearing the end of August. Where is the time going?! So far, this has been such a beautiful month. I have loved doing this monthly challenge because of the experiences I’m having, and also because of the things that I am learning in the process. I made a list of the daily acts of love which I am listing in this post so that I can reflect back on the month so far; but I don’t want this to become a, “Look at what I did!” kind of thing, either. I’ve been struggling with that because while I want to share my experiences, I also truly don’t want it to seem like this is about me. The purpose of this all is to love just a little more, and I find it so inspiring to hear about the experiences of others who are also making these daily efforts. My husband showed me this video by Stuart Edge (which of course makes me cry a little every time I see it) and it is seriously so sweet. I know this isn’t Christmas time, and acts of love don’t have to be about giving money, but I love how this video inspires me to continue making efforts to reach out show love in various ways.

 

So here’s a quick recap of the monthly challenge up to this point…

Day 1: Went to visit my aunt who was having back pain

Day 2: Left quarters at toy and gum ball machine at the gas station

Day 3: Stole my sisters car to vacuum it out and wash it

Day 4: Bought a welcome home caramel apple treat for my aunt and cousin

Day 5: Gave up my massage appointment time slot for a friend who was grieving and needed it more than me

Day 6: Watched my nephew so my sister could take a nap after a stressful night in the hospital

Day 7: Invited a friend recently diagnosed with cancer over for dinner

Day 8: Left a “movie night” at the RedBox (movie treats and a few dollars)

Day 9: Took cookies to a neighbor

Day 10: Made my husband an extra special lunch and slipped a love note inside

Day 11: Put quarters in someone’s meter who had run out of time and left a note on their car

Day 12: “Heart Attacked” a girl from our church who just had surgery

Day 13: Babysat for free and cleaned their kitchen too

Day 14: Gave a compliment to someone at the grocery store

Day 15: Made breakfast for my family

Day 16: Watched my friend’s baby so she and her husband could spend an hour on the lake in McCall together

Day 17: Complimented the cashier on her jewelry while checking out

Day 18: Gave my husband a massage

Day 19: Dropped off cookies and a note to my acupuncturist

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Day 20: Smiled at and had conversations with strangers while on the elevator

Day 21: Left a very generous tip to our waitress who had been telling us of her struggles as a mother of two young boys

Day 22: Took time to really listen and be present while having a conversation with a distant relative

Day 23: Helped my sister with her Sunday School lesson

Day 24: Sent a loving text message to someone I knew was in need of encouragement

So I initially started the month off with so much excitement and energy that I found myself wanting to do these huge extravagant acts of kindness every day. They were fun and rewarding, honestly. However, then I got a little busier as the month went along, and I had some days where I didn’t have time to bake cookies, or deliver flowers…and I didn’t want it to be about spending lots of money either. Somehow, though, just simply sending a kind text message to a friend didn’t seem like “enough,” in comparison to the other acts of love that I had done.

I actually noticed this the most on day 14 when I was in the grocery store. I was in a rush to grab groceries for a weekend trip we were taking, but I decided that I wanted to pay a compliment to my cashier as my daily act of love. It was so hard for me to muster up the courage for this, and I don’t even know why! This was supposed to be easy and almost effortless, but I didn’t know what to say to the man who was scanning my food. My initial approach was going to be to compliment him on something he was wearing, but I felt awkward doing that because it felt ingenuine and unnatural. I have to admit, I chickened out and didn’t hardly say anything to him. Then I went out to my car and realized I had forgot to buy ice; so I went back into the store, determined this time to say something. I said to my cashier this time, “You are so sweet. Thank you.” That was it. I found for some reason that I felt so much more vulnerable in that moment then when I left movie snacks at the RedBox. I had to ask myself why this was the case. I think the reason for it being so difficult for me is that it required me to really step outside of myself in a way that brought on some vulnerability.

I’m finding that it’s really about opening the heart- and this is something that I’ve been working on but it is still so hard for me to do when I am busy, or feeling insecure/defensive/vulnerable or overly focused on myself and on what I am doing. This grocery store experience was just another reminder to me that smalls acts of love are just as important as bigger acts. My husband has even had to remind me of this from time to time during this month. Sometimes we get to the end of the day, and I’ll say to him, “Oh no! I haven’t don’t my kind act today yet, what should I do?” And he kindly reminds me that it can be small and still significant and of value. Honestly, I am always in awe of how my husband manages to talk to strangers, to compliment cashiers and to be friends with almost everyone he comes in contact with. This has never really been a strength of mine, but I so admire this quality and find myself striving to be more like that.

Now there are just a few days left of this challenge and it’s not too late to join. If you’ve had any experiences this month (or ever for that matter) with acts of love that either you’ve done or that have been directed toward you, please share them in the comments. I would LOVE to hear about them. Best wishes to all in their quest to love just a little more these next few days!

Xo,

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Meet the Author: Bianca Merkley

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One thought on “Living to Love Update”

  1. Veronica R de Almeida says:

    My act was to call my mom every day for 30 days but I will continue to do that from now on… You never know if that day will be the last day I will get to hear her voice and it doesn’t cost me anything like back in the old days of long distance calls chargers and fees by the minute.

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