Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's Easy To Not Love

"If you love those who love you, how are you any different than anyone else? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  Aren't even the Pagans?
And if you greet people who only greet you, what are you doing more than others?" 
Matthew 5:46

I have a friend, her name is Lois. She is 85 years old. I befriended her when I worked at Caribou 5 years ago, and we have been friends ever since. 

 This is Lois and I about 3 years ago; we are at my house, I made Spaghetti--her chin was completely orange for hours.

Lois is not easy to love. Actually, she's a pain in the butt to put it nicely. 
She definitely helps me put the term AGAPE love to use. 
AGAPE love is loving without being based on feelings or emotions. It's ACTION. The best example of this would be Jesus on the Cross dying for us.
I am not loving Lois even close to the way God loves us, but I am her friend because of his love.

Lois is an Artist. Like most famous artists such as Van gogh, Frida, Picasso; she is disturbed and has mental health issues. She is cynical, negative, but absolutely HILARIOUS. And I love talking Art with her--she always tells me she feels like she lives in a WAX MUSEUM, meaning the old people around her seem like they are Wax, like they are dead.  She's always telling me she's going to cut her ear off like Van gogh did. She's got a great sense of humor, I'll give her that.

Morning Glory/Lois Ireland 1944

She has walked out on me, yelled at me, put me down and embarrassed me (one time I went to the nursing home happy hour which I do quite often, we have Coke--and I brought my daughter with and she made a scene with Madelynn.)

She has nothing to really offer me. But I have learned through the years as I've about given up on her, that I have something to offer her.
Don't get me wrong, it's not like she has nothing to really offer me, it's just she has hurt me so much and she so negative, and rude, that it makes it difficult to find the things that are really good about her. But I stick it out, because, even though it's HARD. Even though it's UNCOMFORTABLE. Even though it's a SACRIFICE for me when I'm not feeling good. Even though it's NOT CONVENIENT. It's what I'm called to do.

2010/This is me in a self portrait Lois did of me. I think the jar line and cheek bones are too square, too harsh, but I really love it!

I am choosing love when I spend time with Lois. Just like Jesus chose love for me. That's the bottom line no matter what.
Loving her when it's not easy, which is most of the time, because based off of how she treats me, you would think I'd run for it. 
But it has taught me. It has taught me that not everyone is easy to love. As a matter of fact, some people seem down right UNlovable. 
But there is not ONE that God doesn't love. Not one. So we need to imitate that.
It's a choice.
I've grown more patient by loving her, and I've become a really good listener, and I've learned that loving people self-sacrificially IS inconvenient.  Mostly it's a TIME issue. We are so prone to selfishness; just looking out for what we want or what we feel like doing.
Loving her has taught me about commitment. Because it would be so easy to give up on our friendship.

My daughter and  I at Lois' Art Show Summer of 2010

Lois in front of her work (this is her new work that she does in her apartment)

Her and I in front of her older work, that will make her famous same day-I'm sure of it.

Lois in her Art studio/present//her apartment @ Assisted Living

So who is your Lois? 
Is it someone you see weekly, monthly or even daily? It could be your spouse. It could be your In-Laws, it could be your child or a best friend.

Loving people that don't love you the same way back or that seem unlovable, can stretch us. It can grow us, and we can make a difference in peoples lives, even though it's one small thing.
I know that Lois looks forward to our visits, and that to me is worth every uncomfortable moment spent with her.


Natalie said...

Awesome Post! Great encouragement too! Thinking about the Lois's in my life =)

Kyle said...

i was JUST thinking about this a few days ago with a woman at our church. she is an older, single lady named maggie who lives in a retirement community and asked me to teach her to make jewelry. i said yes, of course, but to be honest, i don't really want to. i thought of james 1:27 when i started getting real with myself..that we are called to care for widows and orphans...so i'm calling maggie tomorrow and we're going to make jewelry.

THANK YOU for writing this!

Ashley @ LaLuce said...

this is so good Gina! totally the understanding that God was teaching me recently, its not always going to be easy to love, but that is no excuse. this a beautiful story that displays that truth. love it.

O'Melly said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Gina, and I'm so glad you left a comment, because this entry was a reminder of exactly what I believe in. We go through the daily motions of life, sometimes simply surviving, and we never realize the affect we have on others. I will continue to try to live in such a way that will benefit others, even when I feel like being miserable.

Amie said...

I was leaving a comment on She Smiles, and I noticed what you said. You brought up Watchman Nee, who is one of my favorite authors of Christian works, and I instantly thought, "Oh, I have to follow this girl!" Hehe, anyway, happy to have found another woman of God via blogger. God bless!

Gina said...

All your comments are so uplifting for me, thank you for taking the time to send me a note! I am so encouraged!

The Arizona Russums said...

thank you for posting this. i love that YOU are loving lois. my own mom is so gifted with loving on the elderly and the disabled and i so admire that trait in her...and in you!

fiddlehead said...

Oh Gina....you really have me thinking. Who is my Lois? I am going to contemplate that in mediation, as it is quiet all around me in this moment. I am LOVING this blog....the questions, how you share parts of yourself. I am bookmarking it under my art blogs, because to me it is that. Most beautiful art. hugs-Jeni

Gina said...

I cannot not comment here, this post has me in tears simply because I know how difficult it can be to love someone who cannot return it. I walked a similar road with my grandma who had Alzheimer's. It was difficult, but it has shaped me and given me compassion for the elderly. I long for the next season in life when my littles are a bit older and I can spend time with folks like Lois. (and her paintings are incredible!)

Tamera Beardsley said...

oh gina this post so touches my heart...i know who my Lois is all too well...I so needed to read and reread this...you my dear are always such an inspiration...I can see why your daughter is so wonderful....she has been blessed with you as a mother....

thank you for sharing your heart and your wisdom...

I send you much love...