How do you feel loved?

In the collision of human ugliness and divine beauty, beauty wins.                                Beauty will save the world.

- Brian Zahnd

As I commuted into NYC this morning I became overcome (tears streaming down my face) with feelings of love for compassion for this "beauty" that Brian talks about.

Despite this stuff being the cream of the crop of what I do and how I live my life - literally my job is to look for people to love and figure out how to love them well - it's still super easy for me to get stuck in the task of the day.

So, as I exited Penn station today, I just had to stop and lean against a street sign.

"God, it's such a privilege that I get to do this life that I do, how do you want it to look today?"

And this is what I got:

Look for people to love and then ask them what is the best way you can love them right now where they are.

Money, stuff, food, resources, time, conversation, etc.

Well, that's different.

Obviously, they are homeless, they have not what I possess, so naturally, the first thing I see that they need is what I feel I would need; food, coffee, money, blanket, coat, things...

At the entrance to the NQRW trains in Harold Square, there sits a woman whom I have seen before. I've said hello as often as I could make eye contact, offered resources, coffee, breakfast, and they like - but the key word here, I've offered each time - limiting her options to my comforts at the time.

So today, I decided to try what I felt like God was urging, so I knelt down and offered nothing besides this greeting:

"Goodmorning, what is the absolute best way that I can love you this morning. I pass by here often, I've said hi before, but this morning I have time, I have money, I have resources, a hug, conversation, anything.

What would make you feel loved above any other thing?"

"Hmm.." with the nodding of her head taking it in... "Really, the fact that you stopped and talked to me is the something that no one does. That's all I need".

Feeling like she didn't get it fully, I then offered again, "I have money, are you hungry, coffee, do you need any stuff???"

"Really, just that you would stop and say hello is all I needed. Thank you."

Great... and soul-crushing at the same time, simply for the fact that I watched her for about 2 minutes before I approached, and during that time, no less than 400 people walked by.

Sitting just 1 block over from that 'Miracle on 34th Street' fame, just outside of the gaze of millions that take in Macy's beautiful and mesmerizing holiday windows, sits a woman that simply longs for a "hello" ABOVE ANYTHING ELSE.

So, my friends, this Christmas season (and all the other seasons that follow), as we wrestle with the ugliness of pain/lostness in everything around us, please, don't miss out on the simplicity of a simple "hello" to those you see.

Beauty will save the world.

Love leads to beauty.

The problem though is I cannot define what you need from the outside looking in - you have to open up a little bit and let me know.

So, the question is, what is the best way that you feel loved?

Don't assume that the people around you know that.

Let them know - and ask the same of them.

For me, it's with a hug or a word of encouragement.

What's yours? Please share.

Much love to you my friends!

Have a wonderful day!

*Feel free to share this if you think it will be helpful for others!