I've had a hard time starting this post. When I requested a review copy of Love Does from BookSneeze, I fully expected to rhapsodize about this book.
Like many, I first encountered Bob Goff in the pages of Don Miller's fantastic book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He seemed larger than life, yet the kind of person everyone would want to befriend.
In fact, were Goff's path to cross with mine, I'd insist on buying him a drink simply so I could hear more of his stories.
I completely understand why so many people are singing Love Does's praises. Goff's life is naturally inspiring. I was completely mystified when I started the book and did not immediately join in on the chorus.
This is not to say I disliked the book. (This is also to say I respect what Goff has accomplished in writing a book and especially his decision to donate the proceeds to two organizations he supports. I try to be mindful of the effort it takes to write a book whenever there is criticism to bestow.)
Love Does consists of 30 short chapters, each containing a story of some antic or experience and followed by a spiritual truth of sorts. At their best, they're contemporary parables. This does not always come across as intended.
Goff believes our lives should be fueled by love. An active love. This is a great model for us. Some of his stories better reveal this truth than others. For instance, were my car hit by an elderly lady to the point where I was ejected through the roof, I doubt I would walk over to her and thank her for hitting me and then consider it a cool story. But this is how Bob reacts and the elderly lady has quite a response. Love in action.
On the other hand, Bob also considers sticking his friend with a $400 room service bill to be a great prank. Maybe those of a higher financial eschelon have different criteria for pranks. This might be the pitfall of reading instead of hearing certain stories. Were Bob to tell them to me, I might howl with laughter but in reading them, we don't get facial expressions or intent aside from what we ascribe to it.
Bob advocates for a life of whimsey and it's hard not to be drawn to that. But what does whimsey look like in your life and mine? Is whimsey only grand gestures and off the wall experiences? A book should be the starting point in getting us to apply lessons to our own lives. However, I had difficulty extracting meaning from several of Goff's experiences into application for my own life.
One of the main reasons for this is many of his amazing experiences are the result of money and privilege. Goff is a lawyer and has worked hard for what he has. I don't begrudge him that. However, we are not all so fortunate. I cannot take last minute plane rides to meet with important dignitaries, nor will my office ever reside in an amusement park. I will likely never be able to afford a sailboat and while it would be wonderful to be personally involved in an organization in Africa, I'm doubtful that's in the cards.
So what does Love Does look like in my life? Where is the whimsey when you're a social worker/nanny/writer?
Goff doesn't hand his readers the answers but he does offer his phone number should anyone want to talk it out with him. I just might do that some day.
For now, I'm considering how to more actively love the people around me. I'm thinking about what a Bible Doing (my favorite chapter) might look like. I'm going to keep working on being the person God created me to be. One day at a time.
Have you read Love Does?
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Disclosure: Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Book Sneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts, opinions, and reactions are entirely my own.