I love this picture of Brenda. While I admit I am very biased, she is no doubt one of the most incredible and beautiful, and loving people I know. I still wonder how I got so lucky to share my life with her. If you were to ask me what sets Brenda apart from so many others I would immediately respond by saying, “Brenda always chooses love as her default response to everything.” (Look at the words to the left of Brenda’s shoulder: “Give Love, Choose Love.”)
If I am being an idiot or uncaring or unthoughtful, most often Brenda chooses to love. When people avoided her and David in the church lobby because of David’s loudness and behaviors, Brenda always chose love. When she caught one of our children in a lie or being disrespectful, Brenda chose love. I remember when one of our aids started spreading lies about Brenda, she chose love! When she sees someone hurting or alone, Brenda chooses to love. In fact, the very reason we started David’s Refuge is that we chose love over becoming bitter and angry over David’s suffering and death. It was a conscious choice.
No doubt, choosing to love is sometimes very challenging, yet it has been my experience that it is always the right choice. There is an incredible organization called the “Choose Love Movement” started by Scarlett Lewis, the mother of Jesse McCord Lewis, who was killed in his first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Jesse was hailed as a hero – when the shooter stopped to reload his weapon, Jesse yelled to his classmates to run. His actions saved nine students. You see Jesse chose love! Scarlett also chose love by choosing to forgive the young man who killed her son and the other 19 first graders. People often ask Scarlett how could you forgive this person. She says,
“How could I not forgive?” I know that if I hadn’t forgiven, I would be allowing the troubled young man to have power over my thoughts, that impact my feelings, which then impact my relationships and behavior. Forgiveness is taking your personal power back.”
Scarlett chose love! It required incredible courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion in action. These four values are what her organization calls the Choose Love Formula.
The Choose Love Formula™ is:
Courage + Gratitude + Forgiveness + Compassion in Action = Choosing Love
I wonder what you are facing today that is challenging you to choose love. Maybe you need to pick one of the four values listed above and work on just that one. Do you need a little more courage? What can you be thankful for today? Take a few minutes and list out a few things you are thankful for. Who do you need to forgive? Stop giving them power over you and your emotions. And finally, just do something for someone who is hurting. Choose love!