We as humans need love to thrive. It’s commonly known that children without the gift of love may suffer developmental delays, mental health struggles, and more. Thankfully, when love is abundant, children (and adults) are allowed to thrive and heal.
When I moved from my hometown in Utah to Houston, Texas, I was stripped of my comfort zone. I left behind familiarity, family, and feelings of safety. I didn’t know how to thrive in this new and completely unfamiliar environment. Those feelings stayed until I found a community to support me. Upon receiving a job at a university in the area, I was welcomed by a veteran employee, Sylvia, who became a mentor to me. She frequently offered life advice and constantly supported me in my position as an employee. In her presence I found an abundance of love, and receiving that love allowed me to thrive not only in my job but other areas of my life.
My time at the university eventually came to an end, just before welcoming my first child into the world. This brought with it a whole new set of overwhelming challenges. Fortunately for me, the community I had moved into completely supported me with an abundance of love. So many baby clothes were brought to my house; mothers who no longer needed little clothes for their children generously donated four bags filled to the brim with gently-used clothing. (Talk about an abundance!) In fact, I received so much clothing that I was able to pass on a very large load of clothes for the next expectant mother to go through.
My community members came together to throw me a baby shower, set up meals to be delivered, and showered me with welcome advice for my upcoming exciting, yet daunting experience of motherhood. What really blew me away, though, was that they didn’t stop supporting me when my daughter arrived. One woman found out that I was having a difficult recovery, and before I knew it women showed up at my door all through the week. Some came with chocolate, others with dinner, and still others were there just to talk. My army of women taught me ways to help my body recover and tricks to soothe my newborn as we adjusted into this new stage together.
You can guess the impact their love had on my life. I felt supported when I needed it most. Women cared for me who hardly knew me, giving me a warm sense of welcoming. I honestly felt like their love contributed just as much to my healing as the medicine I was given.
The actions of others that I hold close to my heart are not exclusive to my moments of great need. Often some of the most heartwarming interactions I’ve had are small acts of service: a friend who stops by with my favorite drink because she was thinking of me; a neighbor who brings me excess produce from her garden; a former roommate who sends a pair of earrings she knew I would love. These seemingly simple actions make me feel so loved, and I’m grateful to each who shares her abundance.
Of course, the experience of love and healing is not exclusive to humans. Domestic animals can similarly benefit from an environment of love. Heather Crane is the owner of Sea Dog Animal Training, a company she started with the vision of helping animals around her– particularly those who were abandoned or in an unsteady or dangerous position. She and her team diligently care for and train dogs (and other animals) to allow them to have a better life. The love she and those around her provide visibly impacts the animals. Take, for example, a dog named Juliette. Juliette started her life feral – on her own and living in a field. A local rescue agency found her and asked Heather and her team for assistance. While Juliette started out untrusting and closed-off, she began to open up after several months of rehabilitation. Through the loving care of her new community, she began to trust her caretakers. Her gentle personality came through and she was relieved of some of the anxiety that had plagued her.
How wonderful is it to receive such love from others! It’s equally as rewarding, of course, to uplift another on her journey! If we share our own abundance of love with others, we can relieve burdens, lift spirits, and bring hope to those in need.
Lead Photo Credit: Heather Crane