Red Letters

A friend of mine took her three kids to the doctor’s office. While in the waiting room, she met a young mother with her newborn baby. The new mom looked dog-tired. She recognized that look from the early days of being up all night with her own children.

Their appointments ended at the same time. In the parking lot, the new mom’s car would not start. She’d turn the key, listen to the chug, and then sit back, defeated again. Each time her eyes seemed a little more hollow. Determined she’d try again.

My friend thinks, “I should do something.”

She quickly thinks about the things she could do. She doesn’t know how to jumpstart a car–and she doesn’t even have jumper cables.

As much as she might want to help the new mom, she can’t. Her instincts are right on. But she is not trained or prepared to love this woman by jumpstarting her car. The best she can do is call someone else for help–something the new mom was already in the process of doing by this point.

If you don’t know how to help people out of the trouble they are in, you can’t love them very well. Sympathize, yes. But love? No.

You may find no value in learning how to jumpstart a car. “I have AAA,” you say, “If I ever have car troubles I just call for help.”

A life of love says, “I will learn how to do menial and unimportant tasks because the likelihood that someone else will need my help is very great. And if I don’t know how to help, I have missed an opportunity to love them.”

I want to begin creating a list of things like jumpstarting a car–practical skills that people can learn how to do. I thought of jumpstarting a car and changing a tire. People in these situations feel helpless, and when someone goes out of their way to help, it brings love into their lives.

What are some others?

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