On a recent road trip, our 2-year-old – Pete – announced he had his “stack of good stuff” … stuffed dog, stuffed frog, blanket, drink, and sunglasses … everything he needed for a week in Colorado.  He was delighted & content.  The simplicity of his declaration reminded me of the minimalism of running.  All a runner needs is quality shoes – barefoot runners don’t even need those.  Clothing is good, but you can run in anything.  Any humble cotton shirt and shorts will do.  Stylish, technical clothing, sophisticated gear with GPS, timing and music, hydration systems, and trips to far-away races certainly spice it up.  All those things enrich my running experience, but they aren’t necessary and can make a run complex.  Complexity can be good, but sometimes, I prefer simplicity.  Letting go of timing and mileage and hitting the pavement with no agenda is liberating.  An easy run with a little sweat does a lot for my day, and if God throws in a sunrise, that’s a stack of good stuff.

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13

Now, that’s good stuff.  I’m saving Faith and Hope for another week, so it’s all about Love today.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12.  Simple!  Simple, yes, but is it easy?  I’m blessed to be surrounded by many who are easy to love dearly.  When I dig deeper, however, it gets complex.  I can’t find any qualification in the Bible that I only have to love those who love me.  Loving those difficult to like or even tolerate is not simple.  My pastor has helped me understand I don’t have to hug – or even want to hug – everyone I’m called to love, but I am directed to want God’s best for them.  I may despise another’s actions or disagree with him or her, but that doesn’t release me from the command to sincerely pray for the best for them.  Every person is a creation of God and worthy of prayers.  I will never forget the words of my niece, Olivia, after she heard of the events of 9/11.  Olivia was 5, and my sister-in-law was talking with her about praying for the victims.  Olivia noted we should also pray for the “bad people” who flew the planes.  She learned the concept from my angel of a sister-in-law and helped a few adults remember its importance that day.  Loving all others takes effort and emotional sweat, but it can be done with God’s help, and the result can be a simple stack of good stuff.

Dear God, please help me follow Your command to love all others by wanting the best for all Your creations.