Extra Mile Love
I challenged my university students to go “the extra mile” this semester to show love. I was impressed with how they responded!
In my course studying the philosophy and theology of love, I challenge students to select a supererogatory love project. “Supererogatory” means going beyond what others would normally expect.
The project had parameters: students had to accomplish the project during the semester, it had to “stretch” the student beyond his or her comfort zone, and it had to promote well-being in others.
My class of forty students responded in some remarkable ways! I’ve chosen six examples of “extra mile” love to share.
Blake Wenner, met the challenge by providing rebuilt bicycles for student use on the NNU campus. Blake was able to collect and purchase 15 “junkie bikes” and rebuild them. The project provides an environmentally friendly form of transportation for students who do not have bikes. Known as “Zip Bikes,” these bright yellow, green, and pink bikes now belong to the university community. Students can ride from point A to point B, leaving the bike at point B for another student. Blake plans to continue his work in the years to come.
Andrea Hills planned her extraordinary love project in response to a need she discovered while writing an article for the school paper. Andrea interviewed a volunteer from the Lifeline Pregnancy Care Center. She found that young mothers, especially teens, are often very vulnerable and need extra support. Andrea responded to this need by putting together care packages for Lifeline. The care packages are given young mothers after having a baby. Andrea’s care packages containing diapers, bottles, clothes, and other baby items are greatly appreciated. But she discovered the greatest need at Lifeline is clothes for older children – a need that Andrea hopes to fill in the future.
Student Braeden Gray decided to clean public restrooms as an act of loving service. Braeden went to a local store, purchased an array of cleaning supplies, and proceeded to a local gas station. After receiving bewildered looks from a very confused gas station attendant, he cleaned the station restroom at no charge. Several days later, the attendant asked Braeden why he would do this kind thing. Acts of love have the potential to leave others bewildered but appreciative.
Courtney Michelson responded to the challenge by writing letters to a woman battling severe depression at the Sierra Tucson Treatment Center in Arizona. The letters started as generic introductions. But as time went on, the letters became more personal. Her letters had made a positive impact in the life of its recipient. Through this process, Courtney came to realize that “acting in love is more than getting immediate results. Sometimes, the most loving things take time.”
The project of Allison Dietz reveals how a person can show love using personal interests. Allison loves to take portraits. She decided to offer free photography sessions (each session between 1-2 hours) for interested parties. She placed fliers around the Nampa community. Before long, Allison was receiving many calls to schedule these sessions. She edited the portraits and made CD’s of the shots for customers. Allison provided free of charge professional quality engagement photos, senior pictures, family photos, etc.
Kylie May responded to the love class challenge by informally mentoring two younger girls. She met the pre-teen girls at coffee shops read with them Captivating – a book aimed at teaching young girls to become godly women. Kylie was shocked to discover the severity of problems these young girls face. They or their friends suffered from depression, had attempted suicide, and had been molested. In the midst of these trials, Kylie was able to offer hope. She acted as a role model for these younger girls. And like most loving relationships, the benefits were reciprocal: Kylie grew personally as she helped to form these young girls.
There were many other inspiring projects. It reminds me again that talking about love and defining it well is important. But showing love in action is often most important.