Love is at the center of spirituality for me. To me, that means caring for others, being kind, looking out for people. It means holding people accountable, and being surrounded by people who will similarly hold me accountable. It means living for something other than ourselves.
In many ways, it feels like it has been hard to put love into tangible action this past year, while being so isolated at a time when needs are so great. As a result, I’ve focused on how to spread love through small daily actions. I’m very much a “go out and change the world” idealist but, in the past year, I’ve tried to make sure that my everyday interactions reflect that desire to make a broader impact.
Drawing on the notion of “if you can’t be trusted with small things, how can you be trusted with big things,” putting love into action has meant trying to be more patient and attentive to the needs of family, friends and co-workers that I interact with on a regular basis. This has looked like being cheerful when walking a co-worker through the same thing for a second, third or tenth time; taking time to do a “Zoom dinner” for my parents’ birthdays, when normally all I would have done is call for a few minutes; and spending hours listening to a friend talk through options after losing a job. It feels cliché to say, but having those very same people extend their own compassion towards me highlighted the importance of how meaningful those small actions can be – their kindness kept me going this year!
Being blessed with the gift of time to reflect has also underscored the importance of refueling my spiritual tank through spending more time with the Gospels and other people’s perspectives on faith. I went through the “Bible in One Year” app, which I’d highly recommend! I had never gone cover-to-cover through the Bible before, and reading about how hard times were constantly followed by times of reprieve served as an important reminder that God’s love is constant, even when present circumstances are not ideal.
Laura Spinelli is an alumna of Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Her views expressed in this article are her own and not that of the USC Province.