“Love each other deeply and fully.
Remember the ways that I have loved you,
and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways.”
John 13:34 VOICE
I was sitting at my desk in my first grade class during recess. He ambled in from the fourth grade classroom, his smile warming my heart, making me feel special.
“Hi, Miss Van Veldhuizen. How are you today?” Conrad was different from many of us, not only because he had Down’s Syndrome, but because I could always trust that his greeting was never out of habit. I always knew he truly cared about my wellbeing and happiness.
It’s been over 30 years ago, but my heart still warms at the memory of him on the last day of school. Most students would wave good-bye as they boarded the bus, but Conrad took special care of greeting each of us teachers by name and wishing us a nice summer.
Conrad was limited in mental capacity, but he had an even greater gift. The gift of uninhibited love and kindness without prejudice. A way of making each person he met feel noticed, special, and cared about.
A smile. A sincere greeting. A caring heart. We don’t have to do big things that get noticed. We can do little things with an overflowing love that spills out of hearts filled from the bottomless well of the love of Jesus. Those little seeds we plant will not be wasted, because God can nurture them in some person’s heart. Like Conrad did in mine.
The memory of Conrad’s caring heart makes me want to love like him. But above all, when I remember the unfathomable, no-greater-love of Jesus, I want to love more like Him. May God teach us to love deeply and fully, remembering how much He loves us!
Every seed of kindness we plant,
However small, noticed or unnoticed,
Can bloom hope in the heart of a hurting soul,
A soul aching to be loved and cared about.
With the nurturing of God’s love and grace
Every tiny seed planted
Will grow and blossom,
Spreading fragrances of love to more souls,
Making a difference in this broken world.
“Teach Me to Love”
by Steven Green