I’m not sure how Dave found my blog, but he was one of my early devoted readers. I could count on him to regularly chime in with something thought-provoking—something that made me look at what I was trying to say in a different way, whether it be about parenting, faith, or just the challenge of finding our way in the world.
In addition to his loves for writing and photography, Dave is an engineer and a dad of four kids, which means he’s super busy and spends much of his time in the kitchen and at the elementary school. Dave also told me, though, that one of his favorite Love List items is “sitting on the early morning porch with a chill in the air, coffee in the mug, and an open journal.” Considering how thoughtful he is, I’m not surprised he makes time to process his thoughts. Please welcome Dave to Halfway to Normal and be sure to check out his blog Orange Shirt Guy.
About four years ago, an engineering friend told me that she and her son journaled their “Top 5″ things each day. I think that may have been their whole journal’s contents—gratitude for simple, normal things that each of us can find each day. A few months ago, I saw Kristin’s Love List concept and immediately connected and saw the value of a love list. To me—the male engineer who had been doing Top 5 lists for years—I saw the value in objectifying those things that I really like, those things that give (good) chills. Simply, my love list makes it easier to know the things that are somewhere near the core of my being.
As an example, some of my non-tweeted love list items include listening to evening crickets, looking at photos and recalling their memories, reading a good book, and the huge communication that comes via non-verbal communication.
And so, as I reflect on even just this partial list, I hear it [God?] telling me, “Dave. Slow down. Everything doesn’t need a solution right away. Things don’t always require analysis. Aren’t crickets amazing?”
For me, that is the beauty of my love list. It is not necessarily an item to keep score of how much love is present around me, it is a tool wielded by me to make my life better.
Here’s an example—a reflection I wrote after making an addition to my love list.
I heard the siren—we all did.
I slowed and pulled to the side so that my right tires were now on the grass. As my younger three kids turned to find the firetruck, my eldest asked why I was pulling over.
It was then that I got that feeling—that stomach falling, mouth opening, air being forced from my lungs, eyes watering, and the tugging at my brain and my heart feeling.
Back about thirty years ago, I was watching M*A*S*H with my dad. The opening credits were playing and the nurses—the brunette with hips and the others just behind her—were running to the helicopter pad. The corpsmen were running up the stairs. The doctor was looking down at the soldier with the helicopter blades rotating overhead.
I looked at my dad—his eyes were watering and his brow was tightened a bit. I, the eleven year old, asked him why he was tearing up. What was wrong?
He answered that he was always touched by the people that were racing to save lives, to help people they didn’t know.
Skip forward thirty years.
“I love that people pull over for ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars.” That was the love list tweet that started this whole post.
It is another objective tool in my love list tool box. This tool lets me know why I tear up when I explain to my daughter about people rescuing animals in New Orleans, when I see a guy (not a dad, just a guy) catching a kid from falling back on the escalator, or when we (yep each of us) pull over when we hear sirens. I tear up because . . .
It proves to me that people care about neighbors—known and unknown. It says to me that each and every time we pull over for flashing lights and sirens, we figuratively kneel on the shoulder of the road, and a part of us—even some little, tiny, insignificant part of us, says “Godspeed Paramedic. We care about that person. Do your best.”
I love that . . . and I get why I love it because of my love list.