Quality Timing

The end of the Love Language series brings with her an important invitation. Really, it’s the same invitation that every end offers – a chance to examine ourselves. A chance to pause and look at our lives and ask some questions. What does this mean? and, What will I do with all of this?
As the discussion groups wound down, the last question was the fitting apex of the study. “Given your _____’s love language, what new or renewed actions can you take to make your ____ feel more significant?”
What will I do with this? Every movie we see, book we read, song we hear, person we meet, conversation we have asks the same question. Will I allow this to change my life?
I’ve lived with this material for years, but this year I will answer that question differently.
Often, the same material can affect us in wildly different ways because we are not the same people who interacted with it before. It’s why a passage of Scripture we’ve heard 1,000 times can knock us down, as if we read it with brand new eyes. Or we can catch a particular line of a song and understand it on an entirely new level.
I am not who I was when I first studied this idea, 15 years ago.
So, I was learning, again, and finding the strands of a new thread that weren’t quite connecting, when a woman said to me, “You say, Quality Time can be easily mistaken for others, but that’s because Quality Time is all of them.” And I knew exactly what she meant, the threads in my head finally made sense.
Physical touch requires our attention, our time, our energy. Words of Affirmation requires our attention and time given to another. Acts of Service requires a great deal of time and focus given as an offering to the other. We can give the Gift of self (our time) to another.
This changes everything because it gives us a path to not only love our friends well but to love anyone we see, everyone we see.
Physical Touch, for example, is not on this particular path – if we go around touching everyone, instead of receiving our love, we may make them very uncomfortable. However, Quality Time is universal, and has the potential to reach all of the people in their own languages. It is the one language we can all understand.
We can look into a stranger’s eyes on the street, ask engaged questions of a co-worker, or listen to our neighbor – noticing and affirming their humanity, evidence that they are loved by the Creator of the Universe as well as by another human being. It takes so little, but can mean the world to someone.
Imagine if we would say, ‘How are you doing?’ and stop to listen, instead of it just being empty words. Seriously, imagine if we’d stop, just for a second, and give to another person the sweet gift of connection. The confirmation that we are not alone, that we are all made in the image of the Living God, and that we are not working machines, busy busy busy, who are only valued when we produce and consume. We are made for far more than that. Far more.
The biggest loss of the election/post-election season is the notion that we all part of the same community. We have been divided, and we all feel so alone.
I’m convinced, as a culture, we’re starving to feel significant, and desperate to feel loved, desperate for each other.
So, what am I going to do with this? I’m going to Quality Time the daylights out of everybody I see. I’m going to Quality Time my boss, my neighbor’s kid, the cashier at the Giant. “What are you doing today, Chad?” “Oh, I’m just heading to the mall to do some Quality Timing.”
Yes, I’m going to Quality Time this big, beautiful, broken world, one at a time.

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