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What movement can we spark this Valentine’s Day?

“Immature love says, ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says, ‘I love you because I love you.’” -Erich Fromm

With heated conversations around debt ceilings, Chinese balloons and the State of the Union occurring, we observe from our friends in DC plenty of angry finger pointing and boisterous yelling.

That anger and discontent is echoed by many of the citizens they’re supposed to serve. With 36% of Americans reporting that they are lonely, almost 50% of marriages failing and more than 60% of adults describing themselves as not very happy, it’s easy to feel down. Add unto that a war raging in Ukraine. And a catastrophic earthquake decimating parts of Turkey and the already war-torn Syria. And whispers of fiscal cliffs. And…and…and…

But into this swirl of chaos, little Cupid is set to return tomorrow armed with his arrows of love.

Although marketers have simplified Valentine’s Day by focusing solely on romantic love, the day could be so much more. What if it wasn’t just couples celebrating their love with a box of chocolates, wrapped flowers, or dinner dates, but a day that animated real, unconditional love in every relationship in our life?

My friends, for a moment put the paper down and imagine people holding doors for one another, looking others in the eye, greeting everyone with genuine smiles, putting others’ needs ahead of their own.

Briefly stop scrolling and imagine instead seeking opportunities to put others first, and how this could positively influence our impact as a parent or child, as an employee or boss, as a neighbor or total stranger.

For a day let’s stop living by our personal truths wondering how everything impacts our individual lives and instead be rooted in universal truth asking what more can we do in our individual lives for others?

There are certainly profound struggles we face individually and collectively. One path forward is to yell about it, cross our arms about it or simply give up on it.

Alternatively, another path reminds us that we love life and others because it’s a choice we make freely.

What a great day, then, to choose to be kind to others, to bring encouragement to the hopeless, to shine light into the darkness. What a perfect opportunity to be the embodiment of selfless love in a marketplace longing for it. What a perfect chance to let go of personal judgments, vain insecurities, and unremitting expectations of others.

And what better place to start this important work than with the reflection in the mirror.

Media will continue to sell ad space on news of doom and gloom. Politicians will stoke the fires of distrust, unease and anger. Marketers will promote the perfect flowers, jewelry or gifts.

But real love reminds us that success, meaning and peace will never be found in some talking head, elected official or wrapped box, but in recognizing the immeasurable gifts already received in life, and the selfless desire to share those gifts with others.

It’s easy to love someone who loves us and who we need. But unconditional love reminds us of the transformational gift of choosing to love others just because.

It may not sell chocolate. But it might just change the world.

And it will certainly change yours.

Today is your day. Show some love. And Live Inspired.

19 replies on “Unconditional Love”

Love in Action….today my colleague and I prepared a “Get Well” card for an elderly woman who had been recently hospitalized and is now on continuous care with oxygen. This dear women is leaving her home state of Delaware to move to her daughter’s home in South Carolina, due to the consistent care that she is currently in need of. Very devastating for this dear woman – who is referred to as Nanny. We heard of this incident through our employer connections and wanted to be a positive in Nanny’s life at this time.

I’m visiting my brother in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Saturday the city set 100,000 sea oats out for volunteers to plant on the beaches for erosion control by volunteers. We went to help plant and spread from one end to as far as we could see there were volunteers out to plant. In 2-3 hours all those sea oats we planted by friends, neighbors and strangers working side by side. It was very great to see we can all still work together for a common goal. “ we are made in God’s image to serve each other”

John, between your book,, your podcast with Ed Mylett’s and now this you inspire me and my heart. I hope one day to meet you and hug you and tell you how much it means it was us be such a highlight for me. I was getting blood drawn and this woman was extraordinary yep I said it while taking blood she smiled under her mask she had an infectious energy at 630am. I told her I appreciate her energy and light and she opened up to me she missed her husband. I then find out behind the smile as she felt safe with me & she had an awful tragedy very sad and she lost him suddenly but kept living had to go back to work and sheds her light still. I wrote her a surprise card and sent it with a note of my thoughts of her and how she brought light to my day.

Love in action . . . I’m grateful and blessed to be among a congregation of people who have a Christocentric view of the world and who welcome all people to worship with us on Sunday morning and participate in our ministries. This has lead to an eclectic, diverse group of people who I believe are my siblings. Last Sunday morning during the sign of peace, one of my siblings in Christ with neuro-diversity turned around from a spot in the front of the church and blew kisses to the crowd with such enthusiasm that you could not be affected. If only we could all freely express such enthusiasm and pure love toward life and one another.

A LONG TIME FRIEND WHO WASNT A FRIEND WHEN WE FIRST MET OVER 40 YEARS AGO WAS RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL LAST WEEK DUE TO A HEART ATTACK. THIS BIG TOUGH AS STEEL, RUGGED HARD WORKING GUY NOW 67 YEARS OLD WHO LIVES ALONE, NO WIFE OR ANYBODY TO TAKE CARE OF HIM HAD THE SCARE OF HIS LIFE WHICH OVERNIGHT CHANGED HIS ENTIRE OUTLOOK ON PEOPLE AND LIFE. WE BECAME FRIENDS ABOUT A YEAR OR SO AFTER WE MET ALONG WITH A FEW PHYSICAL ALTERCATIONS DURING THAT TIME WHEN WE WERE BOTH YOUNG, STRONG THICK HEADED BULLS. MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING AND ADMIRATION FOR EACH OTHER AS WELL AS RESPECT LEAD TO HIM ASKING ME TO BE IN HIS WEDDING PARTY SHORTLY AFTER WE BURIED THE HATCHET. WE ARE FROM TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT CULTURES FROM TWO DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY; HIM ORIGINALLY FROM ARKANSAS AND ME FROM BROOKLYN, NY BUT WERE RAISED WITH THE SAME LIFES VALUES! GO FIGURE! I’VE KNOWN HIM LONGER THAN MY WIFE OF 26 YEARS , HES BEEN LIKE A BROTHER TO ME AS I HAVE TO HIM … ONE THAT HE NEVER HAD! WE BOTH HAVE KNOWN ALL OF OUR CHILDREN SINCE THEY WERE BORN. AFTER ALL THESE YEARS AND EXPERIENCES WE HAVE HAD TOGETHER WHETHER WORK RELATED OR HUNTING OR JUST BEING TOGETHER FOR WHATEVER THE OCCASION NEVER ONCE DID WE TELL EACH OTHER “ I LOVE YOU!”
WELL YESTERDAY WHEN I SAW HIM IN THE HOSPITAL WITH ALL THOSE WIRES AND MONITORS HOOKED UP TO HIM I FINALLY TOLD HIM “ I LOVE YOU” & HE REPLIED THE SAME WORDS BACK! I GUESS BETTER LATE THAN NEVER & THANK GOD IT WASNT TOO LATE! HES GONNA MAKE IT & BECAUSE OF IT SO AM I!

A coworker opened the door for me this morning as I was carrying in some items from my car and also asked if I had any more items that he could help me with. I am very fortunate to work with respectful, caring people.
Also, my favorite quote from Jimi Hendrix:
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

My answer may sound much different than the answer I believe you were expecting.:) In my devotional time this morning, I expressed to God how this last season of my life has been the most challenging because of the rejection and abandonment I’ve felt from those who once “loved” me. In that moment, my minutes of sadness turned into joy. Not because those same individuals showed up at my door, or ringing my phone expressing their love and asking for forgiveness for the way they treated me, but because I was so elated to realize God loves me so much, that He’s gifted me to extend the same grace and mercy he has for me to those who have mistreated me. God’s love for me really wow’s me! Thank you, John and Team for this space.

Thank you John for sharing this inspirational message on the eve of Valentine’s Day. A friend on social media is a stay at home mom and her husband is losing his job on 2/28 because company is shutting down. Two of her kids go to a Catholic school and were behind on tuition. I paid for tuition for both kids from Jan-June 2023 because God has blessed me so I can bless others like her family.

Thank you so much for these thoughts today. They are so true and just what the whole world needs to hear I think. I feel so blessed to receive these emails and enjoy your inspiration every week!

I practice my own version of what you are talking about in this blog. I call it my A Simple Smile campaign. Every day I try to do a couple uplifting things for others. The actions range from volunteer work or charitable contributions to texting a friend who is feeling down or simply offering a smile to a stranger in the grocery store. I feel that small actions can go a long way toward helping others and improving mental health.

My aunt gave me a book titled “Saving Aziz” by Chad Robichaux completely out of the blue a few weeks ago. It was not the book so much as her consideration of me and my potential enjoyment of this book that made me feel so special. A small but impactful example of love in action.

The woman who was my business partner for 13 years and amazingly became one of my closest friends, just flew to a job fair with me simply for moral support. She spent the money, took time away from her husband, and flew across the country to be there for me because she loves me. I am blessed to have a friend like her.

I work at dollar tree and the other day a mother with a emotionally ill child came in – she was trying to shop and he kept wandering off – she was so patient with him – kept saying stay with me – she was actually checking out and he started walking out the door – we stopped so she could keep him from going out to the parking lot – lots of self sacrificing beautiful caring

Since I had a long background in healthcare, my daughter asked me to write up some ideas about how to find a good nursing home or assisted living facility in the event that the time came that she would need that information for her dad and me. Once I sent it to her, she found it so helpful she encouraged me to do a blog post with it or at least share it on Facebook to help others. I hesitated, as it was a bit long to share, but within the week when I called a friend who had just been placed in a rehab center after surgery, I discovered she was in a place that was less than stellar, to say the least. I thought of the tips I just shared with my daughter and offered to email my friend the list, who was in another state. At that very moment it turned out, her relative was in another facility trying to see if it was acceptable for her loved one as she definitely needed to be transferred from the place she was at. So I sent my email to my friend and she sent it on to her relative, and my friend is now happily receiving rehab and proper care at the new facility! To me there was no doubt that it was God’s timing in prompting me to reach out to my friend because I did not know her situation prior to the phone call. She is a member of our women’s Bible study group and we had all been praying for her due to her serious surgery and impact on her quality of life, so she was grateful and felt loved, not only by our prayers but by the phone call and the practical help my daughter’s suggestion had inspired in me!

Taking the family to see the Rodeo in San Antonio. Great time together without electronics, good, clean, family fun!

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