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babybird2_edited-1

Three little birds, hungry to be filled, desirous to be deeply, abidingly satisfied.

I’ve spent a lifetime feeling like those three little birds.

Maybe it is as Charles Dickens so beautifully put it, “It is no small thing, when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” No wonder I feel as though I’ve been sprinkled with Pixie Dust after holding a newborn, or hugged tight by a three-year-old, or been given a marriage proposal by a 5-year-old. Such fresh love from God in these little ones. So fresh from the arms of God, they’re born into the world with it – and it spreads through contact.

The older we grow away from that freshness from God, the more we yearn for it, hunger for it. We become like those little birds, hungry to be filled – but not filled with mother’s milk or oatmeal and blueberries. We grow hungry to be filled with God’s kind of love – the kind of love we were fresh from when we were born. It’s an unconditional kind-of-love, selfless, loyal, a seeing-love that sees us as He designed us, see understanding of who we are, gently shepherding, always forgiving, always loving.

Long ago, when were were little, just like those three little birds, we were so fresh from God that it never entered our minds, our hearts or our souls that the world wouldn’t love us like God does. Sadly, no human ever can. Not our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, our spouse, our very best friends, our ministers or priests, the bus riders, the 10 mile runners, our grandmas or grandpas, the barrista who knows you like mint in your mocha, even the lady who prays for you without your knowing – no one, no matter how intentional, loves us like God loves.

The infant of ourselves grows to toddle, to become sturdy children who grow into the dark ages of the teen years, bursting forth into independence whether ready or not, until one day we’re raising toddlers of our own – all of us have been there or are there – no matter how far away we grow from our fresh beginnings, there exists a hunger to be filled. Nothing of the world can fill that hunger – only God can.

“I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it” (Psalms 81:10).

We can still live as though fresh from God. Open our mouths wide, he says – and He will fill it – our hearts, our minds, our souls – like three little birds expecting, knowing, trusting to be filled, surrounded with love. We were designed by love, and, sadly, frustratingly, born into a world fallen that loves imperfectly, conditionally, at times gracelessly, or sometimes loves not at all.

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat” (Mother Teresa).

We can be loved, even love others, but the desire to be loved can only be completely filled by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I wish I could love my children like that, my husband, too – and all those God gives me. I am like the world, though – consistent only in its failure to love perfectly.

Like three little birds, mouths wide open in expectation, so new from God, His love is still fresh on them.

I want to feel that fresh love. I want to know it. I want to be filled inside out with it.

“For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good? ( Psalm 107:9).

I’m praying today that God fill me with that so-fresh-from-God kind of love. I pray that He fill me so that it spills over onto others, activating joy, love and hope – and that it creates a chain-reaction – and that we all know and feel that so-fresh-from-God kind of love!

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http://www.barbieswihart.com/     The Weekend Brew
http://faith.5minutesformom.com/     Faith ‘N Friends
http://sandraheskaking.com/     Still Saturday
http://seespeakhearmama.com/     Give Me Grace
http://www.janiscox.com/        Sunday Stillness
http://www.spiritualsundays.com/     Spiritual Sundays

tomatoes_edited-1“Open up, heavens, and rain.
    Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness!
Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation;
    sprout right living.
    I, God, generate all this.
But doom to you who fight your Maker—
    you’re a pot at odds with the potter!
Does clay talk back to the potter:
    ‘What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!’
Would a sperm say to a father,
    ‘Who gave you permission to use me to make a baby?’
Or a fetus to a mother,
    ‘Why have you cooped me up in this belly?’” (Isaiah 45:8-10)

It’s raining, a long, summer-morning slow-drench kind-of-rain. Thunder cracks and rumbles to the north. Soothing quiet, except for the soft pat-a-tat of rain against the windows, and the noise like a rushing wind, only it’s the soft percussion of rain against pear tree leaves, maple leaves, cherry tree leaves.

The rain, it refreshes my soul. When it’s not raining, I miss the snow – because life slows down, the rush is sifted out of the schedule, leaving the good stuff like my husband and boys, friends piling in, crock-pot promises and something in the oven that needs a chocolate ganache – and stillness.

Right now, though, I need to savor the green of garden tomatoes and chard, cucumbers, corn and fresh onions, a bacon and tomato sandwich, my summer gazpacho, to savor the drowsy wake up of boys working summer jobs for gas money, movies and responsibility to savor the long walks at sunsets with my golden retriever wanting to make friends with road-side frogs.

Even in the midst of a world gone up-side down, God pours blessings like rain over tomato vines . . . . That’s the hard part, though: a world gone-up-side down. A world where babies. lives are bartered for cash over lunch, part by part – as if standing at the butcher counter haggling over parts and costs – yet, it’s  not cow liver and pigs toes the bartering is about; the bartering and haggling are over babies designed by God.

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government” (Thomas Jefferson).

How is this government-sanctioned murder any different than Hitler systematically murdering the Jewish people? The only difference is that Hitler confiscated the financial riches of a grown-up population, and our government sells the organs and limbs of the most dependent and powerless of humanity – so powerless that government took away its rights before it hat the chance to take one breath in order to cry out for help.

This horrific act is so diametrically opposed to the purpose and foundation of our country, a country beckons the helpless:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
(Emma Lazarus, Statue of Liberty, “Collossus”)

Don’t unborn babies yearn to breathe free, too? Isn’t freedom and liberty – and all its promises of being created equal – aren’t these promises for unborn babies, too? Don’t unborn babies deserve our protection from such hideous violations to their bodies?

Lila Terhune in her book Cross Pollination pointed out that before every great move of God, babies were murdered en masse – before the children of Israel were delivered from slavery, before Israel and the world were delivered from the law into grace.

There’s a disquiet in my soul at the terrible wrong being done – and in the soft pour of the rain, in the quiet of my home, with all my boys – and all their organs and limbs in-tact – there’s the faint sound of the drum-beat of heaven preparing for battle. Can you feel it, deep inside?. . . to where you can almost hear it?

Praying today that the hands that guide the transducers probes in these abortion clinics hear that drum-beat of heaven along-side the heart-beat of God’s children in the womb. I pray their hands shake in fear of an angry Father-God over those who harm a single hair on the head of any of his children. This, after-all, isn’t a powerless Father – He is the God-of-Angel-Armies.

I pray that the Holy Spirit enter these rooms and change hearts so that these little hearts and souls will fulfill God’s designed plan for their lives – so the little heart in the womb will one day sit in a home watching a summer rain fall over their tomatoes, savor the taste of a bacon and tomato sandwich, while little arms of their own children wrap around them for protection in the rumble and thunder of a summer storm, take walks under a moon that resembles the curve of a raccoon’s whisker, confident that his or her country protects the weak in an America stands for and with God to protect all His children.

I pray, too, that God shows me how to help this happen.

babybird_edited-1Three little birds, hungry, waiting, crying out in a voice nothing like a song. Their noise reminds me of the saying, “so hungry my stomach is gnawing my backbone.”

Unforgiveness is much like the hunger of those three little birds. The difference is that unforgiveness induces a deep, unrelenting, insatiable soul hunger. It’s not easily satisfied. Like those baby birds waits, so to waits the soul owner. The soul owner waits for the offender to come fetch their forgiveness.

Much like the hospitable hostess at the front door, a package on the door-side table wrapped and re-wrapped, waiting for the offender to come knock on the door, handing you a dish of I’m-sorries. After studying their I’m-sorries, the gift of forgiveness is then handed out.

Call this exchange a two-way street, or spiritual etiquette dance between two people. Each presents the prerequisite forgiveness requirements (the I’m-sorries and I-forgive).  Relationship is restored – Correct? The hunger caused by unforgiveness-waiting has been satisfied. Right?

That’s what I call the 7X7X7 forgiveness dance. Your brother slights, shows up at your doorstep and asks your forgiveness (Matt 18:22). No matter how many the slights or failings, you really, really forgive – his slight as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Forgiveness-by-the-book. Everyone does what they’re supposed to do.

There’s another forgiveness dance, though. One when everyone doesn’t do what they’re supposed to do. The main partner doesn’t show up to do his part. Your forgiveness gift languishes on the receiving table. You can’t give it unless they show up to receive, so hunger gnaws at your stomach until you feel it scratching at your backbone. Your daily song sounds unsatisfied like the baby birds waiting.

It’s hard – this forgiveness when nobody wants it– big and little wounds made intentionally or unintentionally. A daddy walks out, or maybe it’s a spouse. Bullies in the bathroom. Lapses in the kitchen. Wrongs in the workplace. Breaches in the family room. Unintended slights. Infractions in the neighborhood, school, roadways. Even on a desert island.

Unforgiveness like hunger gnaws, distracting from every goodness. It dams up peace like a stream until there’s nothing but a trickle left, then dryness – and you find yourself parched of it.  It stands between you in a hug, a kind word, a hand reached out for fellowship. It’s creates a haze, diffusing the joy God leaves in your daily.

Forgiveness waiting to be given becomes a parasite to the soul, leaching the nutrients properties of salvation: the burden should be lighter. Forgiveness waiting weakens the soul, burdens it.

This waiting to extend forgiveness, waiting for the right conditions, the 7X7X7 forgiveness dance is starving your soul.

On the cross, in the midst of the greatest betrayal of all, stinging from the thorns and whip lashes, lips bitter from the tainted wine, Jesus forgave even before anyone asked to be forgiven.

His friends, his church, his government walked out on him, denied him, tortured him, killed him.

We need to forgive just like that: pre-emptively, whole-heartedly, still desiring to save each offender, each sinner.

First, we have to winnow the true hurts from the pride hurts. Pride hurts, like someone not treating you as you feel your position deserves. That could be anyone from a mom whose kid didn’t get a starting position on the football team, to not being included in a social event, to not being included in a group lunch invite.

There’s the little offenses, like the man who cut you off on the highway, fast-food getting your order wrong for the umpteenth time, misjudgment of those who don’t know you, unfairness and injustice in the daily. Those really are the easy ones. They’re really the practice ones that help us with the big ones.

The big forgivenesses – sometimes we have to recognize just how deep the hurts are to forgive – to truly understand just what the cost to ourselves was – in order to fully forgive – not nickel and dime forgiveness – but full-cost forgiveness.

I learned about full-cost forgiveness with my dad who had left my mom when I was 4. Sadly, he never benefited from the forgiveness gift I had for him. I forgave him long before he died. It was like a gift he had but never bothered to open.

God helped me through that – from the point where I asked for His help to the giving of forgiveness to also learning how to not take it back.

Forgiveness is an abiding thing. When He abides in us and us in Him, forgiveness becomes easier to give.

An  unforgiving heart hungers for I’m-sorries from the very human, fallible man. It hungers wrongly. A forgiving heart hungers for the ministrations of a very loving Father-God who heals the hurts, fill the soul up with good things that satisfy.

Are you waiting on some I’m-sorries?  Are you tired of the gnawing hunger of waiting for people to collect them? Maybe you should go ahead and forgive right now, just like Jesus did. Forgiveness isn’t given because someone deserves it. It’s given because Jesus forgave us, and we don’t deserve it.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32)

waves2ccm_edited-3Last year on the beach, as I looked for the God messages, the love letters he sends, I couldn’t take my eyes off the broken seashells, the waves that ran sliding upon the beach only to be pulled back before boundaries placed by God were overrun. The broken shards were broken souls lost without God:

“Each piece represented a broken soul
a broken soul desperate to be saved
though the soul didn’t know
it needed saving
didn’t know it could be made whole” (Like Broken Shells on a Beach)

This year, I looked out at the beach, looking with expectation, just like the crippled man begging at the Gate Beautiful looked in expectation at Peter and John – and received more than he thought possible (Acts 3:5). I looked out at the beach – a different beach, past the waves that didn’t just rush in, but bullied their way into shore, in a dangerous-rip-tide kind of bullying.

I’m learning that when I live in expectation of God, my expectation is an invitation to the one who always loves me – and He never fails. He always comes.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope [expectation] is from him” (Psalm 62:5)

I waited with confidence; He’s told me I can – wait with confidence (Hebrews 11:1, Psalm 27:14)). Confidence in God isn’t arrogance; Confidence in God is trusting God like a little child trusts in the goodness and provision of his parents.

I waited, and He met me, at the balcony.

“Look to the horizon,” He told me. I wasn’t to focus on the bullying waves. Not on the sparkling, pretty water sprays. Not on the water trying so desperately to climb up the beach, like one imprisoned seeking freedom at all costs, only to be pulled back.

For three days, our group (about 40) rarely went in the ocean, it was so dangerous. Two of my nephews saved a woman caught in the rip-tide. They barely made it out themselves. They remembered when they were spent of all within themselves to lay back a float. It was not a good time for anyone to be immersing themselves in what was right in front of us.

No, it was better to look to the horizon.

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“Look to the horizon,” He’d said – before the Supreme Court rulings, before the Charleston, S.C. shootings.

Look up, look out – fix my eyes on Him, on His ways, on the hope of Him.

Like the focal point of a laboring woman during birth, so, too, must we choose a focal point during the big and little challenges that are like contractions to our souls, contractions designed to give new life.

It’s our choice, determining our own focal point. The pain of the daily can be big enough that I want to close my eyes and block out the focal point – but that’s my choice. I chose my focal point to be El Shaddai who can handle any situation and Jehovah-Shamah –  on the horizon – even if I don’t see Him, I believe He is both on the horizon and with me at the same time – and I am determined to keep my eyes open and focused on Him.

“David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Acts 2:25)

Like the city under siege who receives word that salvation will arrive on the horizon at dawn, with an army of 10,000 come to save, hope burns fiercely in my soul that He saves. The world may fall apart, but He saves those who are His.

My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare” (Psalm 25: 15)

Focusing on the snares in the daily, whether they be in our home towns or in another’s – doesn’t release us from the snares designed to bring us down either individually or as a group. It’s when we take our eyes off the snares and look to Him that we are redeemed from those snares. Even when the snares are thrown off and destroyed, if we keep focused on Him still, the snares will not be remade.

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Look to the horizon with expectation! What do you expect?

“Do not be afraid—I will save you.
I have called you by name—you are mine.
When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you;
your troubles will not overwhelm you.
When you pass through fire, you will not be burned;
the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the holy God of Israel, who saves you. (Psalm 43: 1-3a)

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Freedom comes at a cost – and the cost can wear and fray the edges of souls, can cost precious lives in the saving of it – but regardless how battered and tattered, regardless how sometimes the fight to keep freedom and it’s flag flying – it is worth the fight, the standing firm in the face of compromise, to live free, to maintain this shining city on a hill giving hope to a world of oppression.

I thought this 4th of July, Independence Day,  the quotes of our founding fathers, the men who laid the cornerstone of our country’s foundation, many giving up all for this liberty – that we read some of their words regarding liberty and our flag – and then these words go down deep like a tonic, strengthening to sustain our responsibilities to keep our country strong, pure and true.

“If anyone, then, asks me the meaning of our flag, I say to him – it means just what Concord and Lexington meant; what Bunker Hill meant; which was, in short, the rising up of a valiant young people against an old tyranny to establish the most momentous doctrine that the world had ever known – the right of men to their own selves and to their liberties” ~Henry Ward Beecher

“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“Our flag means all that our fathers meant in the Revolutionary War. It means all that the Declaration of Independence meant. It means justice. It means liberty. It means happiness…. Every color means liberty. Every thread means liberty. Every star and stripe means liberty.” ~Henry Ward Beecher

“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours. It floats in majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us — speaks to us of the past, or the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it” President Woodrow Wilson, 1917

“I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office” ~ Andrew Jackson

“We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity, representing our liberty.” ~George Washington, attributed

“Free people, remember this maxim: we may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost” ~ Jean-Jacques Rosseau

“When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon” ~ Thomas Payne

“Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I’m not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be” ~ John Wayne

“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” ~ President George Washington

“We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a pollyglot [sic] boarding house; and we have room for but one, soul [sic] loyalty, and that loyalty is to the American people” (Letter from Theodore Roosevelt to Richard Hurd, January 3, 1919)

Story Telling Around the Table

 

 

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We were at the beach a few weeks ago. Two of our sons and our new daughter-in-law went parasailing. As I stood there watching, taking photos, God and I had a moment – a heads-leaning together, He understanding my humor when I said, “Parenting looks just like that, especially at the independence-with-training-wheels point and the full-blown independence point.”

Without faith, I couldn’t do it with an iota of grace. Without faith, I’d be scared, hollering at them to come back where it’s safe (like, really, where I am is safer at all?), crying, and asking everyone and their brother to help, to step in, to do something, to make. them. come. back.

I might be saying things like “They could break something. . . . something I cannot fix – you know – those unfixable things that once broken can’t be fixed. . . .They’re going to hell in a handbasket. . . . . Oh, my – they’ve really done it now!” You know – those out of control, only the-negative-outcome-wins kind of thoughts.

I might have even started out this parenting gig 29 years ago with a few moments like that – because I didn’t understand faith and hope – and tied together with God’s mighty, very interested, very hands-on, I-got-the-plan-and-understand-why-this-is-happening kind of love.

I sat there, camera in hand, watching these people I love soar – beyond my control – but under God’s.

How I can feel as a parent and how I can feel as a citizen of American right now have some commonalities. I can feel fear, disappointment, lack of control over a lot of decisions, both in the leadership of our country and on our streets. I can run around trying to fix everything, bemoan the state of everything, speak failure, downfall, going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket kind of faithless prophecy. I could do that. I hear it all the time, as if God isn’t big enough to save America. It would be so easy . . . . or I can do what I’ve done these last 29 years- ask God to handle the plan. . . . believe He is bigger than any challenge.

I can “Cry out”(ask God) like the angel instructed Zechariah – and “Cry out, again”(ask God, again), per the angel’s same instructions – so that God will intercede where man cannot (Zechariah 1:14, 17).

There are many who love our Lord. If the population in America is 318,881,992 (million) and the Christian population is 223,217,394.4 – and God was willing to save Sodom if 50 righteous men – I think we’ve got that, friends. I think out of 223,217, 394.4 Christians – there are many righteous children of God for whom He would save our country. There are many in our country who have not forgotten. We need to take our eyes off those who have no faith in Him, and place our eyes on Him. I believe he is bigger than those who do not believe Him or heed His ways.

He says, “he who touches you touches the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8).

Cry out, – and, then, after we’ve cried out, we need to take a deep breath and trust – and show that trust by praising God, loving on Him with our praises. There’s a lot in our country that needs intercessory prayer – but let’s start first by seeing God’s goodness around us, praising Him in the hard rain of a summer storm, worms from a mother bird whose baby fell out of the nest and scampered to safety, sweet peaches in cream on a summer Sunday morning, the grace in a sit long and talk much opportunity of a relationship restoration, the cool break in a summer hot, 4 stools filled with boys at the kitchen counter talking big and little thing and barbecue, faith that God is bigger than men chipping away at our country’s foundation, kitchen hugs that show love never fails, God’s faithfullness in the seed-time and harvest of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, dill, lavender – and rain trees, how the smell of home-grown Spanish onions never fails to make me close my eyes, inhale deeply and smile – every summer, and that over the course of our beach holiday, one son emerged a new creation, one learned the value of sun screen – and that a parasailing adventure read, to this mother’s heart, like Miracle/Mystery faith play – a God message of encouragement.

No battle has been lost, friends. The battle is God’s – and His victory is assured. Praise Him in faith for it!

I bless GOD every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.
2 I live and breathe GOD;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:
3 Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.
4 GOD met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.
5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.
6 When I was desperate, I called out,
and GOD got me out of a tight spot.
7 GOD’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.
8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good GOD is.
Blessed are you who run to him.
9 Worship GOD if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.
10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but GOD-seekers are full of God.
11 Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in GOD worship.
12 Who out there has a lust for life?
Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?
13 Guard your tongue from profanity,
and no more lying through your teeth.
14 Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!
15 GOD keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.
16 GOD won’t put up with rebels;
he’ll cull them from the pack.
17 Is anyone crying for help? GOD is listening,
ready to rescue you.
18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find GOD right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.
19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, GOD is there every time.
20 He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.
21 The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.
22 GOD pays for each slave’s freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.
Psalm 34: 1-22

See To Save a City: Interceding for a Nation

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“Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat-the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself is truly hidden”
(C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory).

Your neighbor – in the car line,
the slow poke in front of you on a late morning
an unsaved brother
or school mate
the stranger in your neighborhood
the parent on your soccer team who
is really quiet
a political opposite
the friend inside your circle
the acquaintance whose circle you know
nothing of
the fella who lives seemingly all wrong
and the girl who lives seemingly too always right
the workplace neighbor
who doesn’t understand you
and the mother-in-law God gave you
the barista who makes your coffee
the server who spills
soup into your lap
the teacher who doesn’t understand
your child
alongside the one who does
the coach who doesn’t see
what you see
and the one who manages to inspire
beyond your child’s confidence
the easy and the
hard
your mother and father
the siblings
the “I do” man
for better for worse
in the good times and the hard hauls
through to the other side
and the children growing
and, yes, the pizza delivery man
alongside the driver of the
ice cream truck

all designed to be, next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor in the daily of your God-designed life, the holiest object presented to your senses!

“Jesus said, ‘The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these’” (Mark 12:31).

Love your neighbor means to love those God gives you through birth and marriage, those next door, around the block, along the daily by-ways, hallways, cow paths and concrete paths you set your feet on.

This intentional loving is not an instant thing, an over-night thing. Grasping how God loves is something we grow into, one love-choice step at a time.

It’s your choice, this loving – those you asked for and those you didn’t.

Grow it, nurture it – believe it!

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