A few nights ago I was helping my sons get ready for bed. I had Max (the oldest) do the usual routine: bath, put jammies on, brush teeth and make the last potty stop. Then I said, “find brother and tell him you love him just because.” So he did. Zach smiled as he hugged him and told him “ I love you.” Then it was Zach’s turn: bath, jammies, teeth, last trip to the potty and find your brother, tell him you love him just because. So he did. Did I mentioned after each declaration of love that the recipient was wrestled to the ground just to make sure they got the message. That was not what I envisioned. It was still one of those times when you remember what is important.
During a retreat I led last month, I sat with a girl who told me that she was struggling with her younger brother. She lamented that he was mean to her and he just didn’t get it. It was clear that she loved her brother deeply. She had learned how fragile life was and she wanted her eighth grade brother to get it. I said, “he’s just being a little brother. You keep telling him you love him, better yet show him how you feel. Find how what he likes to do and do it with him. Find out what he loves just because. Show him what it means to care about him and then love the brother you have today–the way he is right now. Make it about the giving. One day maybe he’ll look back and see the gift he has in you.” I encouraged her to see the gift today that she has in him.
She sent me a text message after the retreat. She said she had just returned from her brother’s band concert. He played drums. I told her about Max and Zach’s night. One day maybe I won’t have to remind them–they’ll just say it because. Because we need to use those words, because we all need to hear those words. At the end of our text conversation, I said, “sometimes the just because moments make all the other ones bearable.”
Isn’t that true? Think about it. Those people who do things for you just because, hold a special place in your heart and in mine. First, they get you what you love and they cherish it! Isn’t it wonderful to have someone know you? Do you have someone who knows what you love? Maybe they know your birthday.. your hard days.. your favorite things? To be known is not only important, it’s sacred. Second, they remember. Not only do they know, but they remember. Third, they follow through. Sometimes I do the first parts well, but I get lost in the third part… the doing. I watch, I listen, I file away, I stop, I ask, I may have the best intentions, but sometimes I don’t get to the finish line. That’s just crazy–I buy the card and forget to send it. I think of them during the day, but just don’t get to the phone to call them. Every once in a while, I remember and I do the right thing.! The look on their face, their voice on the phone when they received a card out of the blue just because. That is what it’s all about. I am a true believer that those moments of receiving carrying us through, because they’ve made the difference in my life.
Last month, I met a friend at the grocery store just because. I loved her and I tracked her down. As I walked through the check out with her, I thought about all the little things she has meant to me over the past years and about the ways I have been there for her. I know God was a part of my being in that grocery store. I also know that on that day, I was part of bringing God’s kingdom, in some small way. My week with her turned out to be just one of those weeks and really it began at the grocery check out aisle four.
A few days ago, I called a friend that came to mind. I had not talked with him in months and I just said, I’m not sure what’s going on but you were on my mind and I called to tell you I loved you just because I do. For a moment the phone was silent, then he said, “I’m not sure how you knew that today was a bit of a set back and a snag, but thanks for the call.” To know someone, to remember, to follow through, to be a part of their moments, to speak those words, to just do something for someone else is the thing. I know it is God’s work that we get to be small part of.
I encourage you to make some moments for someone esle this summer. — Celia
P.S. I have been thinking about writing this for a week and as I sat down to write, I received a card from another friend that started with two words, “Just because.”