Kate has experience working with a number of people, but they all have one thing in common - they all just want to be loved.
What motivates you? What is the reason you wake up in the morning?
No, just kidding.
Love is what keeps me going. As cliche as that sounds, it’s so so true. Ever since a young age I have been a big-hearted person.
I grew up in the most loving home. I was blessed with parents who were together for my entire childhood (and adulthood), something a lot of my friends couldn’t say. My parents loved each other everyday and never let us see them fight. I had 3 three siblings, and although we bickered, at the end of the day we would do anything for each other. Because of my dad’s job, we moved. A LOT. So, my siblings were my only constant. Meaning, if I wanted to feel genuine love, I needed to show them genuine love. I danced to Michael Jackson with my brother, laughing at some funny (to a child) lyrics, performed home theater with my sister when we were pretending to be spies from “Spy Kids”, and loved my little brother so much when he was born that I called myself his “second mother”.
When I was very little, I dreamed about being a missionary and a camp counselor (but aren’t these two the same thing?).
At the age of 15, I began a Counselor in Training program at the camp I had attended since I was 6 years old. Oh man, did my world change. Every single summer from then until age 22, I worked at camp, loving the kids, helping them learn who they are in Christ, and loving the staff who would become as close as family.
In the meantime, I attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania for Sociology – Human Services. I became involved with a church group that goes to Mexico every year on a mission trip and I was hooked. I applied for the missionary group without even running it by parents, was accepted and made the call “Mom, Dad, I’m going to MEXICO!”
In Mexico, I worked with children in an orphanage, people who were blind in a blind center, women in a women’s rehab center, and people working and living in a garbage dump. These people had my full heart. I went back several times, and each time fell deeper in love with loving people and helping people who in return were truly loving and helping me.
After college and my last summer of camp, it was time for a full time job.
I got a job at a Juvenile Detention Center, working with young males ages 13 to 18 who are placed at this facility for delinquency or dependency issues. It is here that one of my favorite quotes really began to reign true for me.
Because, let me tell you, those boys did not act like they needed to be shown love and grace, they acted like fools.
But my time there, taught me that loving people wasn’t always going to be returned with a hug, like it was at summer camp or the orphanage. Sometimes, loving someone means tough love, accountability, and playing the bad guy. The times that I had to reprimand the boys didn’t feel like love. But the discipline and respect they were learning from me as the staff everyday was preparing them for the real world and how to stay out of trouble. That’s love.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned even more about love; what it is and what it is not.
Love is cooking dinner for your spouse when you had a long day of work and all you want to do is lay down.
Love is not losing your temper when your spouse responds in a less than perfect manner.
Love is picking up your brother from school when your parents are both busy.
Love is not complaining about running one more errand for your parents just because you finally have your license.
Love is treating everyone at work with grace, realizing that at times, you’re going to get annoyed with each other.
Love is not gossiping and feeding into the “he said, she said” drama that inevitably is a part of office culture.
Love is treating those around you like they are the world.
Love is not letting the world around you affect the way you treat someone.
I’d like to leave you with a challenge. A little love challenge.
Who around you is it hard to love? In what times is it hard for your to show others love? And how do you feel after you know you failed to love someone?
Showing love – whether to your husband, sister, mother, neighbor, or stranger is the first and most important step towards a happy and healthy life. Not just for the person you are loving, but for yourself. Because if you are anything like me, the overwhelming joy that I am filled with when I show someone just how loved they are – that’s the icing on the cake. That’s what we are called to do, what we were created to do.
So go out there and show love, even when its hard. Even when someone is showing you they need love in the most unloving way.
You will never walk away saying “Oh man, I wish I didn’t show them so much love”. I promise.