Choose to love someone today

Published 4:57 pm Thursday, February 29, 2024

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This is the second week of my recovery from spinal fusion, and it’s been a struggle. This surgery has been more intense and painful than the last, but the results have been worth it. My symptoms have been diminished, if not outright eliminated, and I can see the light ahead.

The MVP of the situation is my wife, who has had more asked of her this go round. She asks what I need before I even know I need something. She anticipates what might be helpful, and she sets me up for more than success. She sets me up for flourishing, for recovery, for vitality. And she does all this with no gift in return, because I can assure you helping me log roll out of bed is not itself a gift.

Our lives are held and supported by people who spend their nights and days serving others, who live so little for themselves, who labor so we might enjoy our leisure. In my case, it’s not so much leisure, but my wife is spending day and night ensuring that my health and life is prioritized. This is amazing. It’s astounding! It points to something beyond the merely selfish and self-interested.

How often do you stop to thank those whose lives make your own life possible? When’s the last time you thought about the faces of the people who deliver your gasoline? Do you find yourself hoping for their joy and happiness?

We can apply this lens to every aspect of our lives. If we look closely enough, we can always find somebody to thank for making our lives better. No man is an island, said the poet John Donne. You feel this truth most acutely when your body is broken and is being nurtured by another. If I was an island, I’d be adrift in an abyss of pain and loneliness. But supported by my wife, I can thrive.

So, this is for her, for Julia, who once again reminds me of my own commitment to be more loving and compassionate. This is for all the Julia’s who won’t get recognized. Thank you for loving those around you. And this is for you, dear reader, who can make the choice to love someone extravagantly today. Do it, and maybe the world gets a tiny bit better.

Chris Adams is the Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.