We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves . . . from what I hear and see lately it seems we don’t really love ourselves all that much.
Love leads us into mystery where no one can say what comes next, or how, or why.
- Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg -
What comes from the heart, goes to the heart. - Samuel Taylor Coleridge -
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love – Mother Teresa -
Think about our lives on a typical day. We don’t change the world. We don’t solve the economic crisis or find a way to world peace, or to cure the common cold. Yet, some do small things with great love as the quote suggests. My late father was one of them. Daddy died a few years back on 9-26 and tomorrow marks the anniversary once more. Daddy never finished school, yet he learned more than most of us by caring to do small things well. He was my hero and not just mine but the hero of most whom he ever met.
Daddy called everyone “Pal” and truly felt everyone was his friend. If anyone was in trouble he’d offer a hand or a word of encouragement. I can recall his going outside and Mom wondering where he’d gone off to. Sometimes, he’d go into the woods and find something to transplant to make the yard look good when Mom looked out the window. Other times he’d hear someone working on a car and grab a few tools and go see if he could help get it started. He was good at that. Didn’t go to fancy schools to learn, but simply bought old cars and learned how they worked and with little money for fancy things or high-priced shops to fix things, he just learned how to do it. He shared what he learned.
He could fix a leaky roof or kitchen sink. He could put a doll’s leg back on when it broke off. He could make a cut on my knee better and dry my tears. He knew just when to pat my shoulder or give a sudden hug. He didn’t know fancy words. He didn’t need them. Not long before his final illness, he and Mom had a “big” anniversary and I made them tee shirts with pictures on them from their wedding day all those decades before. I took them out to dinner at a favorite local place. You know the sort, where everyone knows everyone else? He got up and walked all over the place even into the kitchen so he could show everyone “the shirt my daughter made me.” He pointed to the picture on the front, too. He had Parkinson’s and didn’t move about easily as a rule, but that night he managed. Everyone shared his joy.
At the end he was bed ridden and in the days before he passed, he couldn’t really talk. He couldn’t really do anything anymore. He could barely move at all, yet as Mom and I stood at his bedside, he saw us and did his best to make he weak facial muscles, stiff from the disease, form a smile. I saw Mom’s hand on the side of his bed and noticed him focus on her hand. I saw a look on his face and watched him with great effort slowly nudge that right hand a fraction of an inch at a time and it took quite some time for him to move his hand a few small inches to where her hand lay. He finally made it across the distance and clasped her hand. Twenty minutes to move 3 or 4 inches. ” . . . small things with great love.”
I love you Daddy!
Whether it’s over the kitchen table having breakfast, at the water bubbler at work, in the grocery store, or at church, it seems we have a long list of complaints about all that’s wrong in life and all that we should be doing to fix it. Seems the complaints never become fewer . . . I am always side stepping a lot of talk online, on the radio, etc., of what is wrong with the church and this is especially disturbing.
Ultimately, all we have to do is love . . . the Lord our God, one another, and ourselves. That’s it. The other stuff? He’s got it. He had a plan long before we saw and heard the problem existed. We’ve got our duty spelled out. Let your light shine, be a reflection of His love. On the list of things we “should” do today, tomorrow, this week, this month . . . where’s that on the list? Is it on the top?
All too often, it doesn’t make the list, not OUR list. Seems more likely than not it’s absent, but our verbal lists include a whole host of things “somebody” should . . . and “they” should . . . and there’s even a whole new page for the “why didn’t” things . . . again, why didn’t “she” or “he” or “they” and not why didn’t I . . . MOST disturbing of all is the “why did God” or “why didn’t God.”
\21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock
and water gushed out.
God placed this quote above on my heart yesterday. I could go on and on about all those few words reveal, but ultimately, they are summing things up well. God is God, I am not. He has the big stuff well in hand. I have my instructions . . . my job, while challenging sometimes, doesn’t come close to the magnitude of His. Mine is all about the love . . . the things that are impossible for me to even think about much less accomplish or “fix” if you will . . . they were never meant to be mine to deal with until I picked them up and began wrestling with them. I’m letting go. The sky is blue and the sun is shining. I know this because I looked up!
Here’s some of that water gushing out of the rock . . . side of a mountain actually.
We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.
- Dorothy Day -
Hearts shy, new in love--
Tentative smiles, and long looks
Deeper than the night.
You think we can't tell?
Love chirps, chatters like a child
Who's found her language.
(Copyright Caddo Veil, 2012)
Seriously, the human heart doesn’t look like a valentine and while I could look up why the day February 14th became linked to a specific “shape” we call a heart, I’m not going to write about that. As I look at the shape what I see is a rounded shape which is bursting open. A simple shape. A shape, a vessel, so full it is exploding and it’s contents are thus shared with those near and far as it bursts because it cannot contain anymore . . . much like my human heart when it is so full of the love of God. I can’t selfishly hold His love, even if I wanted to. I must share it. Fortunately, He makes this easy for He gives us people with whom it must be shared. He also gives us more so steadily that we never have to worry about running low.
As Valentine’s Day approaches and we are reminded of love as the world and the retail industry define it, I believe Christians who know it’s definition in a different way should take care to give that love more freely. Let us allow that “holiday” to be a reminder of what His love means and let us share it freely everyday, shall we? Candy is nice, but when we “”taste and see that the Lord is good” as Psalm 34:8 reminds us, we find LIFE as we’ve never known it could be! Let’s share that love everyday!
Join me! Here’s a chance to say “thanks” to the person or people who have inspired you or still do so- liiving or dead, even fictional characters! I invite you to comment with your own list. You don’t have to give a reason why they inspire you and you don’t have to give a last name. Just please take this opportunity to say “thanks.”
- Professor Knur
- Road Runner
Oh, it’s that time of year! Sports of various sorts can be found any time of day or night depending on your television reception. My television reception is pretty good . . . I’m working on my God reception. Baseball, now there’s something to consider just now. Think about it . . . as the title to this article reminds us, we swing, we miss, we strike – three times and we’re out. Wow. Glad I’m on God’s team and not the baseball team because the rules are pretty strict, I’ll grant you, but they are so reflective of His love for us. How fortunate are we that we’re not out after three strikes! He’s always willing to forgive and when He does – our sin is GONE. There is no “remember back when you did . . . “ In baseball, on the other hand, there’s always “gosh, remember that game back in ’98 when he left three men on base because he struck out?” We can’t strike out and lose God’s love for us. We can always repent and change our path to the right one. We can join the Kingdom team. We can change our life with His grace.
That’s what I’m doing. I’ve done the sensible things the world encourages and it doesn’t satisfy me. It provided shiny toys and jingly coins in my pocket, but oddly those things aren’t at the top of my list anymore and so there are many who say I’m crazy. I’m following the path that was made by God through His son who became flesh and died so that I might live. He even gave us His Holy Spirit so that when we drop the ball, we have a coach who loves us right there to help us change that play! So, in seeking a “new” team, I’ve thought of what I want to do. I picked up a book today at a church thrift shop. I paid 2.00 for it. It sums up what I want to do with my life and who’s team I want to be on, and it’s got a star player that I truly want to model in my own life.
The book was published in 1944 and when my mother was a small child, thus long before I was dreamed of. It’s all about that star player, my hero. The author is Mary Alice Jones and the book is called “Tell Me About Jesus.” Sure enough, that’s what I want to do; I want to tell folks about Jesus. I want them to join the Kingdom team and if they get to know Him, I’m sure they’ll want to be on it because they’ll just LOVE Him! Ms Jones wrote several small stories in this book and each one is for me a list of plays that the Kingdom team needs to focus on. He’s the star and we need to model our lives and our plays after His. Surely you will agree when I share some of them:
- Jesus loves children
- Jesus goes about doing good
- Jesus is glad
- Jesus helps people
- Jesus is brave
- Jesus trusts God
- Jesus helps people to be good
- Jesus asks God to help unfriendly people
- Jesus prays to God
So, that’s what my new life is going to be all about. I’m not that good at it yet, but He’ll coach me. I’m not sure what position I’ll hold on His team, but He’ll lead me and show me. I may not be the one who hits the home runs. I may be the one who brings them water to drink. It doesn’t matter. We’re a team and all the members of the team work together and we all need to do our best at the position our Lord chooses for us. I’m on a winning team. Come play with me! You won’t strike out! You have His promise!