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 -
Whether it’s about the Love of God, the love of those near and dear in this world or both, you will be inspired by this wonderful Haiku.