Living Out Love
Updated: Feb 24, 2022
by Kim Sorrelle
Before my year of living love, I thought that waiting without complaining was patience, that not expecting everyone to be in an American hurry was extra patience. And I thought not caving in to frustration during a traffic jam in a city of nearly two million people—with infrastructure for only forty thousand people—was top-drawer, gold-medal, long-suffering patience. But I am pretty sure I had it wrong.
That day in Haiti with Patrick at the warehouse revealed something to me: the essence of patience is being present in the moment. I had been entirely absent from the moment, racing ahead in my mind, worried about the consequences of Patrick’s mistakes. Being in the moment is not thinking ahead about that long to-do list or the mass of emails that need to be returned. It means being more concerned with showing love to a slow checkout clerk at the grocery store than getting home after a grueling day. It means living love in the minute, with a human being, not an obstacle to my plans.
Patient love realizes that people are more important than agendas. Everything else will wait, can wait. Had I practiced being in the moment with Patrick, I would have been calmer, more accepting, less put out, less perturbed.
By being present in the moment, body and soul, mind and spirit, the moment takes on a new reality. A fullness. A wholeness. Senses heighten, minds open, and hearts engage.
Mother to child.
Husband to wife.
Friend to friend.
Stranger to stranger.
Love is present in the moment while patient love embraces and encircles the moment. It listens, sees, feels, and, because of that, it waits. Patient love waits, knowing that this is the most important moment of your life. What is in the past stays there. What is ahead isn’t here yet. Nothing else matters besides right here, right now.
In understanding love that is patient, I also understand that, first, it is not natural for me. Second, it is going to take a lot of work and a whole lot of focus to just be in the moment and not be distracted by the thousands of interruptions vying for my attention. This love is not going to be a one-day, follow the directions and put the Ikea coffee table together kind of learning. It will be more like learning how to surf in crazy high waves with great white sharks waiting for their dinner to take a nosedive. Ignoring the squirrel, the shiny object, and the vibrating cell phone takes some time.
It all sounds right, but what is the reality? What does practicing patient love look like to a type A raised by a type A+? It looks like focusing on focusing, intentionally putting on blinders, tuning out all other sounds, having a gold medal-worthy stare-down contest with the moment.
Think of that tracking device that we all carry around in our pockets and purses—you know, the one that sounds like wind chimes, an alien spacecraft, or the first bar of a favorite song? The one that gets all of our attention? We can be midsentence and if that thing makes a sound, the whole world stops while our eyes immediately move to look at the screen.
Maybe patient love means finding the off button.
Excerpt from Love Is: A Yearlong Experiment of Living Out 1 Corinthians 13 Love by Kim Sorrelle