“Help. Thanks. Wow.”
These are three essential prayers that Anne Lamott writes about. And these three prayers perfectly sum up the past year of my life.
Very long story short, I’m in a new season of life. My kids are officially adults now and I’m getting a whole new vision for what I am called to focus on during the next phase of my life. And it’s wonderful! Also scary. But mostly wonderful.
My husband and I have worked so hard to create a strong family and community, and we are constantly asking how we might contribute to making this world a little better. What we have discovered is that so many people around us are working hard on the same things and we need to support each other!
Last year, I traveled to Japan. Do you know what everyone I met over on the other side of the world was struggling with? Their relationships — at home, at work, in their communities, churches, and beyond.
I met a woman this past year who was raised in an family of athiests and was taught emphatically that the institution of the Church has ultimately been more harmful than helpful to society, science and progress in general. Hearing what she (and a huge community of others) had come to believe was sobering. Yet she is drawn like a magnet to the love she senses when she is around people who follow Jesus authentically – who aren’t afraid to ask hard questions about how our beliefs are playing out in the current world climate. She has become one of my most treasured friends and her perspective is so helpful as I rethink how to live out the second half of my life.
The missing link with everyone we know who has left the church (or is currently considering leaving) is that they were not loved well by followers of the same Jesus who said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” He repeatedly emphasized that loving God and each other are the most important things we can do if we are following Him.
The longer I live, the more I realize how much I don’t know. And at 48 now, I know less and less all the time. But what I do know, without a doubt, is that the most helpful thing I can do in this world is to love people generously. I have reached the conclusion that at the end of my life, if I were to learn that everything I ever believed was wrong, I will never regret loving people well.
As people who deeply believe that Jesus is the ultimate example of how to love well, Scott and I have have done a lot of thinking and praying about how we might create conversations that help us learn how to love better in the world in which we find ourselves.
So on March 17, I left my day job of 20 years and we have launched a project at LoveBetter.world with podcasts, blogs and other content that we hope will bring people together who, like us, who are working toward a more loving world. We started Love Better, not because we think we know everything (or anything, really), but because we want to begin conversations that create empathy, understanding, and ways to reach each other’s hearts with the unconditional love we all need. Our lives have been transformed by love and we know first-hand what a difference love can make!
Love Better is for those who aren’t part of the Church, and for those inside the Church. It is for those who need community, for those who need to tweak your relationships, and for those who long to live in a world that values relationships over success, religious tradition, fame or any other force that gets in the way of what our souls need most.
At the same time LoveBetter.world was launched, I published a children’s book that I wrote eleven years earlier called, It’s Hard to Hug a Porcupine.
It is a story that teaches kids how to love people better who are difficult to love.
Scott and I, along with the book’s illustrator, Jon Hogge, tell the story of how this book came to be in Episode 3 of The Love Better Podcasts. I hope you will take a listen, especially if there is something inside you that is longing to come to life! The way this project unfolded was really special and involved a whole community of people who are learning how to love each other better.
I will also mention that at the very end of the podcast we have included a blooper, for no other reason than it was hilarious. But don’t you worry, the fire trucks didn’t have to come even though they were well on their way.
I want to thank you for hanging in there with my sporatic blogging. It has been a scary, rewarding and beautiful season of life and I just wanted to keep you in the loop. I do think I will be freer to blog here more regularly going forward, and I’m excited about that.
I would be tremendously honored if you would also join me over at Love Better. There is a free ebook chapter for those who subscribe, and we have lots of podcasts and special content in the works for you so I’d love for you to get in here at the beginning of this project that is so close to my heart.
Until next time, keep praying with me these 3 three simple prayers: Help. Thanks. Wow!