Non-Fiction: Spend All My Life

- Kelli J Gavin

Every single day. That is how often I fall. I fall in love with people. With friends. Even with people from afar. Certain things people will do or say will catch my attention and I am drawn to them.

My daughter has a friend who believes herself to be beyond her 13 years. She strives to wear the cool clothes that the older teen girls wear. She wants her hair always in a messy top bun. A few months ago, I observed that this sweet girl had an obsession with her hair. She would take it out of its ponytail holder throw her head over to her knees and proceed to gather all of her hair just to place it back on top of her head again. Usually, I wouldn't give it another thought, but something strange was occurring each time she did this. She always seemed to be doing it in very close proximity to other people. She would somehow manage to flip all of her hair into the eyes of the person standing next to her. Or she would cover the shoulder of her friend. It struck me as odd. I don't want other people's hair touching me or being flipped onto my eyes. I saw one of the girls roll her eyes as she looked at me, and then later, a boy turned and walked away.

I pulled her aside. "I like your top knot. When you put your hair up, try not to do it when other people are standing shoulder to shoulder with you. Do not rush. Take your time to gather your hair all in one hand and put the pony tail holder in with the other. You can even excuse yourself to the bathroom and do it in the mirror to make sure you got all your hair. If your ponytail holders don't seem strong enough to hold your hair, let me know and I will order you a set like I purchased for my Lily."

My daughter's friend heard me loud and clear. She could tell I was momming her, but also trying to help, not hinder. "Thanks. I think I will take you up on your offer for ponytail holders. My mom has such pretty hair and she doesn't have thin hair like I do. She never has to put hers back up. I feel like my hair falls out constantly. I think if I use a tighter one in my hair, that might help. Thanks."

Right at that moment, I loved this little girl. Comparison is the thief of joy. She was comparing her hair to her beautiful mom's hair and was struggling with her own. There isn't a teen girl alive that I have ever known that hasn't struggled to some degree with self image. She needed help, a few pointers, and she felt comfortable taking them from me. Just another mom. But a mom that cares.

My son loves going to his special needs youth group on Tuesday nights at church. It is the highlight of his week. When I go to pick him up, I can hardly contain my smile when he dives into arms in excitement and can't wait to tell me everything that he did at Capernaum. Jake, his 20 something helper, came out to greet me also. "Mrs. Gavin, your son is amazing. He loves music and loves the other students. I enjoy watching him interact with other volunteers and students. He makes volunteering a fantastic experience for me." Behind Jake, three other volunteers were smiling and nodding in agreement. Right then, my heart soared with love for each of those volunteers who so selflessly give of their time to serve my family and to love on my son.

My husband leads a men's bible study on Thursday mornings and oversees Men's Ministries at our campus church. This past Sunday, we hosted an hour of prayer to uplift a soon to be deployed serviceman and his family in prayer. We adore this sweet family and consider it an honor to do life with them.

As the men from the bible study were preparing to leave, one of the men pulled me aside and said, "Kelli, thank you for having us. I want to tell you how much I value your husband and how much I look forward to spending time with him and the other men in the group. Your husband is a wonderful encouragement to me." Right there, my heart loved this man who took the time to tell me how thankful he is for my husband.

Sometimes, when I love someone, it is for something they have said, or even something they have done. Other times, I love someone for the words they chose not to say. And love is always present when someone loves my people, my family.

I will spend all my life loving people up close. I will love my children and husband until this world is no longer. Different people and in different ways. The love that strikes anywhere and at any time, in single moments, is something that I want to experience every day for the rest of my life.

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