Tuesday, May 23


My earliest memory of love at first sight was in an apartment complex in Italy. I knocked on a door and a woman opened it. In an instant, it was like I had been hit in the gut. God loved this woman, more than I could have ever understood, and for whatever reason I caught a glimmer of that infinite, overwhelming love. I saw what the Gospel could do for her. I saw her family blessed and sealed in the temple. I saw her turning to God during major trials in life and finding meaning, happiness, and peace.

I opened my mouth and began to share the message that I knew would bring her the happiness and peace she desperately desired.

And then she closed the door.

And my heart, still overflowing with emotion, was torn to pieces.

My companion wondered why I was suddenly bawling on a random doorstep. But that's understandable. She was a total stranger. His heart hadn't been torn out. And yet what I felt was real. Real enough that I'm crying as I remember it a decade later. My heart still burns.

And yet, by the time we had walked down a dozen stairs, my tear-filled eyes had somehow turned bright again, and I enthusiastically told the next person of the same message that brought me joy.

Sometime that day, my trainer asked me how it was that I could feel so intensely for someone I had never met... and, more, how I could rebound and keep going when my heart was so incredibly crushed.

And looking back at his question I realized something that day:

I can love people.

In the years since, I've seen that the world is full of people who love by degrees. Most people aren't willing to love completely. They're afraid of sending the wrong messages, they're afraid of everything. Mostly, they're afraid of being hurt - of investing in others too deeply and then being ripped to shreds by shrapnel when it all explodes in flames.

I know I have been.

And yet.

Loving people is worth it. Even if they never love back. Leaning on mortals is worth it. Even if they always let you fall. Caring, praying, fasting for others is worth it, even when nothing ever seems to come of it.

Because *loving* people - really, truly, infinitely loving them and caring about their eternal souls, along with the pain and anguish and joy that comes with it - is an exercise in becoming like God.

God loves. He hurts. He rejoices. He cares about the souls of each and every being on the earth... and He dedicates everything to helping them to become like Him.

This morning I knocked on a metaphoric door and had the same experience I had in Italy. Met a random stranger. Felt an enormous amount of love. Shared a message of hope and peace. Saw how the gospel could change a life, heal a heart, and create a thousand hopes and dreams. 

And they closed the door.

I found myself bawling this morning. And yet somehow moments later had the ability to love and care yet again.

I just want to say that it is worth it. People are worth it, no matter how painful the cost. They are always worth it.

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