Doris was our pastor’s wife in the early ’80s.
When I called her house — often looking for my mom — it was from our old rotary phone in the kitchen. It was the kind of phone with a twirly cord that could stretch the length of a room.
She didn’t know who was calling, of course, because no one had caller ID back then. There was no such thing as “screening calls.” The pastor’s wife always answered the phone the same way — every time:
“God loves you! This is Doris.”
It didn’t matter who was on the other end, dialing into her house. That’s how she answered the phone.
The caller could have been her accountant, her hairdresser, an escaped convict, the next-door neighbor, an insurance salesman, or a politician running for office. She’d answer her phone with the same greeting because she wanted you to know that you’re loved. I can practically hear her sweet voice in my ears, and can feel that twisty cord wrapping around my finger.
I hadn’t thought about Doris’ greeting for years, but her words came back to me this week. I’m not sure why, exactly, other than the fact that a whole lot of people need to know that God loves them. I’ve seen the people. I’ll bet you’ve seen them, too. You’ve see them in Target, and in your Facebook feed, and across the aisle at church. Some of you have seen that love-hungry someone looking back at you in the mirror.
We all need someone to remind us what we matter. We all need someone to tell us we’re loved by people, and we’re loved by God.
Call me cheesy. I don’t care. But I feel like the whole world needs to get Doris-ized. We all need a great big group hug.
Where are you now, Doris? Because we need you. We need someone to turn the Grand Canyon into a megaphone, and then pipe your sweet voice over the earth, so it reaches into every corner of the world, and every corner of the Internet, every congressional hallway, every counseling office, every junior high locker room, every jail cell. “God loves you!” you’d tell us.
Doris, tell us again that we’re loved. Tell us that God loves us. Tell us with your words, yes, but also tell us with your eyes, and your two hands on our shoulders, and your visit to our hospital bed, and that hand reaching across the political aisle. Tell us again, “God loves you!”
Doris, send your voice across on the Internet. It’s rough out here, in this age of cynicism. People are talking at each other, instead of with each other. We’re all screening our calls, and choosing sides.
The Internet plays host to “open letters” and verbal slams disguised as “thoughtful critique.” When we dial out into this noisy world, we need more Dorises to pick up the call. To let us know we’re loved. Out in this wild world, we don’t know who will reject us, fight us, criticize us, belittle us, ignore us, judge us. And some of us are so hard on ourselves, that we don’t need an outside critic. Our worst critic lives deep within.
Someone just… tell us that God loves us.
The world needs more people like you, Doris. The world needs more card-senders, and grace-spenders, and hand-extenders, and relationship-menders.
We need people who are living loved. We need people with hearts so sufficiently full of God’s grace that they can’t help but leak love onto the people around them.
We need people who make love part of their agenda, people who work it into their days, their routines, their phone calls. We need people who are reckless with love.
I want to be one of those people.
I read these words in the Message paraphrase of the Bible this morning:
“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.” (1 Corinthians 14:1)
Maybe we could live loved, and really run after love, and remember that our faith is supposed to express itself through love, not bitterness and vitriol.
Together, let’s tell the world know its loved — every last inch that we can. Maybe we could do that, as if our life depended on it. Because it does.
Be a Doris. Choose love.
Who is a Doris in your life? Tell me about your Doris, your Michelle, your Kathy, your Christy. How do they live loved, and love well? How can we #BeADoris today?
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Be sure to check the sidebar later this week. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Devi is last week’s featured writer.