Photo by Doug Rudnik

I keep noticing that I repeatedly make the same error when texting with my phone. Whenever I type the word “love” my thumb seems to always accidentally hit the “i” instead of the “o”, so it reads “I live that” or “I live you”. Now, I hate typos – I admit I over-proof-read my texts or status updates – and I cringe every time I hit “send” only to look up and find that I’ve misspelled (did I spell that right?) something. However, today when I was texting my daughter, and noticed that I had indeed typed “live you” rather than “love you”, it struck me not as a mistake, but as an “aha” moment of sorts!

When we love someone, or something, we truly do “live” him/her/it. It occupies our mind, our money goes towards it, we long to be engaged in it! We want more of it. We want to be good at it. We want recognition for it. That person, activity, or object feeds us in some way. We feel better about life, and ourselves. We receive the strength to continue on, love, excitement, motivation, perhaps even acceptance. How disconcerting to be committed to something (job, relationship, activity) that drains us of vitality, rather than inspiring us towards wholeness and fulfillment!

Living love means putting love into action. It means laying aside things of lesser priority. Relationally it means laying aside MY needs, MY instinct to win, MY instinct to be served, MY urge to get even – it means NOT needing my love to be reciprocated right away.

Living love means serving others, however, serving does not mean being at their beckoned call, doing for them what they can do for themselves, or living in a relationship that is one-sided. Authentic serving through “lov”ing is that incredible condition of the heart in which making someone else happy does not feel like a sacrifice. It’s the invigoration of knowing that you have made someone’s life a little easier, made someone else feel appreciated and valued, given them the compassion they needed, the smile they didn’t realize they had lost.

Living love means taking the first step – initiating the first move to clear up a misunderstanding, righting a wrong, saying “I’m sorry.”

Living love means taking on someone else’s agenda, when you had already made plans of your own.

Living love means taking responsibility for your own words, actions, or behaviors that have caused a breach in a relationship.

Living love means consciously striving to out-do the other person in kindnesses shown.

Living love means not keeping score.

Living love means offering, and accepting, true forgiveness.

Living love means being quiet long enough to listen….and remaining quiet long enough to truly hear!

Living love means being at peace with the fallibility of others, and ourselves. It means moving off the well-worn path of criticizing or correcting, and creating a new path wide enough for two people to walk through the struggles of life hand-in-hand.

This week, whenever you would normally use the word “love”, make a conscious effort to use the word “live” and see what a difference it will make in the way you view the people and activities in your life. It could be quite eye opening. You may find that you are giving way too much of your self to some activities, and not nearly enough to the people in your life. You might find that you really do take pleasure in knowing your life revolves around the well-being of that loved one. Who knows, you might even find a new calling.

And the next time you accidentally type “live” rather than “love”, don’t fix it. Just leave it there as a testament to your resolve to live love deliberately!

I live that! Don’t you?

(Spiritual Reflections from the Red Sofa 08/24/2011, (also in family journal, republished on Facebook. Doug’s photo is from Staniel Cay, Exumas, Bahamas.)


A Doug Rudnik term for typing mistakes when typing/texting on a phone, the most notable example being i/o.