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confessions | I love themes

As I look at my farmer's tan I can't help but smile. It reminds me of drinking water from plastic cubes, being welcomed into the shade of homes with dirt floors, and the teenage girls in my dorm freaking out because "prom is one week away" and the tan lines from their modest clothing will surely ruin all the pictures. It also makes me kind of sad because last week feels like a lifetime ago.

Then I remember Love Does.

It's crazy how two simple words can totally change my mood. How they can evoke feelings. But that's why I love themes. They set the stage.
I've had two favorite jobs. They seem worlds apart but really they have so much in common because they both worked on creating themes. First, I worked in marketing for collegiate athletics. We'd spend hours going through pictures, selecting colors, and debating which font to use. We did this because we wanted to make people feel something. We wanted to take all the things we valued (diversity, integrity, etc.) mix them with all the things we hoped for (community, achievement, etc.) and turn them into a feeling.
Second, I worked for a nonprofit that secretly furnished, decorated, and stocked homes for single moms in the Habitat for Humanity program. It was my job to take an empty home with white walls and make it feel like people I'd never met. So I'd talk to their friends, read interviews on them, and visit the places where they "did life".  Then I'd come up with key words to describe who they were. It never ceased to amaze me that at every reveal as the families walked through their new home I would hear the exact words come out of their mouths that I had been repeating to myself as I purchased items to fill the rooms.

Themes have power.

So when the t-shirt was revealed for our trip I couldn't help but fall in love. From the color (which my filter totally changed...sorry y'all) to the use of the palm tree and llama to the words it perfectly captured the spirit of our spring break trips. Our theme was largely built around the song Never Gonna Let Me Go by Kristian Stanfill. But the less official verdict was that Bob Goff's book Love Does should be our guiding light.
Settling back into "real life" was kind of a downer. But then I thought; love doesn't stop doing. In fact it should do more because I have so much more time to invest in those around me. To refuel my fire I decided to head over to goodreads and find a little inspiration in the words of Mr. Love Does himself. Here are some of my faves:
I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter.
Failure is just part of the process, and it's not just okay; it's better than okay. God doesn't want failure to shut us down.
I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them
Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.
I learned that faith isn't about knowing all the right stuff or obeying a list of rules. It's something more, something more costly because it involves being present and making a sacrifice.
Love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does.