How amazing it is that the human body PHYSICALLY needs love, affection and nurturing to even grow. “Failure to thrive” in children is nothing more than when all physical needs are met, yet they are not developing - for lack of love.
Physiologically love changes us.
And even as we seek to understand this through measures of science, we innately know it to be true. We have all at one point or another felt our spirits thrive because of someone’s love, and conversely we have agonized through the bleeding of our souls as it was neglected, belittled or ignored by one we loved.
You don’t need to be a world-renowned doctor to make a difference in the world. You don’t need to be a five-star general to help save people. You simply need to LOVE as if lives depended on it. Love - everyone - without discrimination.
Because the person cussing you out from the other lane, the one butting in front of you to buy the last cider donut, the one making sarcastic comments about your child - all of these distasteful behaviors stem from a lack of love somewhere in their lives. They did not develop the relationship bonds needed to know that they are safe, loved and valuable, able to self-regulate their now adult needs. They are stuck in a “failure to thrive'' scenario which colors every scene of their lives.
We need to see the hurt and the lack in their past, the cries that went unanswered, the cruel slaps in the face instead of the warm nurturing response to their needs…the sick cycle of a lack of love being passed down to another generation.
While it has scientifically been shown that there can be permanent damage done by early lack of love and nurturing, it is never too late to spread the antidote far and wide in the hope of bringing about healing and wholeness. In fact if we claim to know and love God then we have been tasked with being part of this solution. We are to change lives through the simple act of sharing the love we have been given.
And for those among us who unfortunately did not come into the world with reliable, affectionate care-givers, know that you are still, daily, being surrounded by love by the Creator. The sweet air you breathe, the sun on your face, the songs of the birds, the colors and flavors and tastes and hundreds of sensations we delight in - all these are a loving gift meant to nurture you to wholeness. The possibility of loving relationships, the people in your world who are there ready to connect - it is all yours, a gift from God to quench your thirsty spirit. Learn to look around and open your eyes to the millions of love notes and kindnesses from your Father...His loving provision. As you accept them and speak gratitude over them, they will begin to fill the void and pour love into your soul.
In this season of holiday hustle and bustle, may we all slow down enough to participate in God’s restorative science of love as we seek to piece back together what is broken in ourselves and all those we encounter.
“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. BY THIS all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35