Sunday night, I introduced you to my Love Dare challenge and asked you to join me on my journey. However, before we go any further, I need to explain myself: The reason I asked you to join me on my adventure is actually a totally unselfish one. Originally, the Love Dare project was a diary; a text intended to be written and read by my eyes only. Yet, as I began to write, I found myself overcome with the sense that I needed to share my experience. However, I second-guessed my feeling and continued writing my journal. (I mean…really, who cares what I have to say?) Yet a pestering, ever-present nagging feeling persisted the more I wrote. Still, I ignored it. Twenty minutes went by. Suddenly, I found myself overcome with a nasty case of writer’s block – and for a journal entry, that’s pretty sad. I was sitting at my desk, staring at my cursor, furrowing my brow, chewing on the rear end of a pencil when something remarkable happened.
Out of the blue, I got a message from a friend; a deeply personal note about how even though I didn’t know it, I inspire people. I was touched. I replied back and we had a lovely conversation. And still, the idea that I needed to share my whatever-this-is was still there. And so was my writer’s block. Begrudgingly, I looked up at the sky, somewhat irritated, and said, “Okay, I get it.” From this, the Love Dare was born. My writer’s block lifted and the words flowed. It was almost too easy. When the blog entry was complete, I trepidatiously shared it. And then, something else remarkable happened.
Moments after I posted my entry, my inbox was flooded with warm sentiment, kindness and stories from other people who were (or who had been) traveling a path quite similar to my own. I heard from several individuals experiencing their own struggles; cementing my belief that listening to that still small voice in my head (or at least one of them) is still oh-so-important. I was reminded, ever so subtly, that we are all connected, even if it is in the most remote and virtual of mediums. I was also reminded that I need to listen to my still small voice more often…because it makes for an incredibly annoying bedfellow when I don’t.
I need to say THANK YOU. Thank you for your kind words, your love, your understanding, your prayers, your friendship and your courage to share things with me. Thank you for your trust. I am proud to have it, even though I have done nothing to deserve it. Yet, anyway. So now that we have that out of the way…
Day 1: The Love Dare…And Why I Need Staples
My lesson for my first day (Monday) was avoiding the temptation to use harsh words when loving ones will do. I was about 99.9 percent sure I would need to staple my mouth shut and superglue my fingers together – ye who have been on the receiving end of one of my virtual tongue lashings should appreciate that joke.
The Lesson: Go an Entire Day Without Saying Anything Negative to Your Love Dare Recipient
Without staples, without superglue, I did it. I completed the challenge.
HOW DID I DO IT?
Believe it or not, the lesson I learned in church on Sunday was my saving grace. The lesson I learned in church this week was three fold:
1. As often as you think of someone, pray for them.
2. Love imperfect people, perfectly.
3. Pray for the right things at the right time, in the right way.
But it seems like every time I try to do something right…something goes wrong….
Every time I get inspired to do better, be better, or think more positively, some asshole comes along and throws a dinosaur sized monkey wrench in my plans. Monday was no exception.
I Had to Remember, All Anger Stems from Pain
I was cast aside. My feelings and opinions sloughed off. I was put down, sized-up and told I wasn’t genuinely making changes. I was faking; I was being brainwashed. Instantly, I found myself with a wellspring of anger.
“How dare they treat me like this when I was trying to do better; while I am working so hard to extend an olive branch! How dare they! Even after a year of steady improvement, how dare they question me now when I need faith the most!”
I. Was. Seething.
I was on the verge of an explosion that would have made the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption look like a grade school science project. Then, suddenly, I got it.
Help Me Love Imperfect People, Perfectly
Instead of getting into a screaming match with my recipient and essentially not even completing the first task in my book, I said a quick prayer:
“If it is your will, please let their heart be opened by what I am trying to do. Please help me maintain the patience I need to see this through. Please help me love imperfect people, perfectly.”
And I was still. My anger ebbed. The floodwaters receded. I was at peace. All the same, I repeated that prayer several times that day. I needed to. And yes, it’s thanks to my time in church, but it’s also because of everyone who took the time to respond to my initial post. For you, I am grateful.
I’m getting to that. You readers are so pushy. I am grateful to close out day one thankful I succeeded, but also knowing that I didn’t succeed on my own. Sure, the Universe, God, something up there helped me (I’m still working through this, please be patient with me), but you helped me too. Yes, you. The person reading this. The person who sent me lovely messages, good vibes, positive wishes and tender responses to my love dare launch. You. So, for you, for me, for whatever it is up there that is helping me, for patience and for a day of clarity, I am grateful.
Overall, I’d say that Day One, Lesson One was a smashing success.
Now, to return the staples and the super glue. I’m so glad I kept that receipt….