“Love your neighbor, even the ones you don’t understand.”
-Bob Goff (Everybody Always)
I’m on something called a launch team for Bob Goff’s next book—Everybody Always—and as a part of it I got a little sneak peek of the actual thing (each of the quotes in this piece are from the book)!
Here’s the gist of the book: Dumbledore dies.
Actually, the book is all about what it looks like to really, truly love the people around us. Not just the people who are easy and fun to love but also the people who are difficult and mean and stand a little too close to us in the grocery check-out line.
Bob says the Bible is pretty clear on what it looks like to be a Christian, and I agree with him. Jesus said they’d know us by our love, and as I’ve been reading the first few chapters, faces and memories have flooded me and woken me up to the love I’ve been really lucky to receive.
* * *
“But extravagant love often means coloring outside the lines and going beyond the norms.”
-Bob (p. 8)
I just got back from a trip to Washington D.C., and while I was away I let my friend Bridget borrow my car to use to hang out with her YoungLife girls or go bowling or pick up boys or whatever she wanted to do.
As I was about to board my plane home, I got a blizzard of texts from her one after the other, which is fitting because that’s the way Bridget talks—kind of like each sentence is its own secret surprise that she can’t wait to tell you. I love it. The final one said this,
There’s a super lame surprise waiting for you when you recover your car
I was kind of expecting something like a framed picture of Tom Selleck or an Avril Lavigne CD case with a JoJo CD inside. Instead, I opened my car door to find sticky notes everywhere. One was placed perfectly over my speedometer and said,
Hey Drew! Thanks for letting me use your car! Hidden around your car are 25 (with this one 26) little notes for you! Take your time finding them!
I began to maniacally search the car for sticky notes, grinning really big.
As of this writing I’ve found twenty-one of the twenty-six. Also as of this writing, I feel as filled with love as I could possibly be.
I read each note one-by-one and savored the kindness scripted in cursive across the paper—noticing the unique fingerprints that produced such unique love.
Guys, Bridget knows how to make people feel loved.
She colors extravagantly outside the lines every day.
* * *
“Nobody should have to feel alone in the world. It’s probably why God made so many of us, to make sure nobody would feel lonely for long.”
-Bob (p. 14)
It was two years ago and I was having one of those nights. Things felt a little fuzzy, and I was lying in bed trying to press the snooze button on my problems and worries.
Unable to do so and too early to fall asleep, I wandered downstairs into a crowded living room filled with my roommates (nine of them…#LosAngelesRentIsHigh) and a few of our friends.
I sat on the couch at the edge of the group next to Glenn, and I think he could immediately tell I wasn’t feeling it. He looked over at me and said simply, “How are you doing?”
My eyes immediately started to swell with water.
Just before they really started to come, Glenn interrupted me.
“Come on, let’s go upstairs.”
“No, Glenn, I’m okay. Your friends are here. Stay here.”
“No. Come upstairs.”
I reluctantly followed him upstairs and into his room, where I kind of just fell onto his big bed and laid there face down.
Glenn knows me really well (he’s one of my best friends so I guess that’s kind of his job), and he knows that physical touch means a lot to me. With a hand on my shoulder, he sat there in silence for a little bit until I was able to start talking through the hecticness of my head.
I don’t really remember what questions he asked or exactly what I said. However, I will never forget his hand on my shoulder and his friendship imprinted into my loneliness, his fingers gently holding my shoulder and my worries.
And then, as any good friends do, my tears dried up and The Office turned on. He laid there with his hand on my shoulder until Jim and Pam and Michael lulled me to sleep, content in the knowledge I had a friend who loved God and loved me.
* * *
“Everyone could have actually met Jesus. He could have appeared in person throughout history in all maternity wards and huts and fields where children are born…. By not doing this, I don’t think He’s avoiding us. I think His plan all along has been for us to meet the people He made and feel like we just met Him.”
-Bob (p. 5)
When I was in kindergarten, Mrs. Sholar taught us how to make our fingerprints. When it was my turn, she held my right hand, index finger pointed, and gently and firmly pressed it into the ink pad. Then she held it onto a piece of paper, revealing the distinctive lines and grooves and ridges of Drew Brown’s identity.
I remember standing and staring at my fingerprints, amazed at the detail, amazed at the idea that they were mine and mine alone.
I’m sure this is cheesy, but I see God doing the same thing with Bridget and Glenn. I see him holding their hands, gently and firmly placing their finger into a divine ink pad, and guiding their inked fingers to the paper.
And I lucked out and got to be the paper.
So to Bridget and Glenn and everyone else walking the streets with divinely inked fingerprints, thank you. Thank you for loving everybody and leaving people filled up with hope. We are so incredibly grateful.