Every morning for a few months now my first action is to spend some quiet time alone with God. I open up my bible app and read the verse of the day and the associated conversations and stories that go along with it. As you might imagine these days there is a heavy focus on love on another, love thy neighbor, open up your heart, compassion, understanding and forgiveness.
These are principles I have worked hard to try to live by. Obviously, some days are more difficult than others and some people’s actions really make it a struggle to find the good that must surely exist somewhere… even it it seems to me to be buried deep within a mound of hate.
My FB existence these days is mostly posting pictures and videos of my amazing grandson and frequenting limited pages that are associated with healthy living and women uplifting one another. I have also begun rock painting and have been sharing my work as well. I have unfollowed a huge portion of my friends so as not to react to their words in the same unkind and thoughtless manner their posts are presented with. I find unfollowing helps me to control the judgement I feel forming as they spew their rhetoric. I roll my eyes and then take a moment to pray that they find their way and that the good that surely exists within them rises to the surface once again.
Believe me, I am not perfect and my thoughts are not always pure and good. I also know there are people out there having similar reactions to my posts… It’s all good. I sometimes struggle with doing the right thing in the midst of all the wrong. I have not lost the ability to develop a quick retort in my mind that can cut someone off at their knees before they can finish their sentence. However, I choose not to do that, usually.
I instead give it up to God. Let Him decide who is good and who is bad, who deserves grace and who is still finding their way. I’ve been thinking about the whole love your neighbor as yourself commandment a lot lately. The world is a mess and as such, we sit back and choose which neighbor we will bestow our kindness on and which we will shun or choose to dislike.
I’ve had experiences in my life where people have done me wrong and until I was able to forgive and move on it made me restless. Even if I thought I had handled it and dealt with it; it was still there lingering below the surface ready to erupt at some odd time triggered by something completely unrelated. One particular neighbor comes to mind, years ago something happened and this neighbor caused a lot of anger and stress and there were some residual effects.
I found myself for the first time in a very long time wishing harm on someone. This animosity hung on me and drug me down like an anchor. It took a lot of prayer to change those thoughts and take my power back. Letting someone else have that much control over your happiness is unhealthy and unwise. Generally the offender is clueless and goes on living their own existence as you suffer. I remember praying, God, I need help letting go, I want to forgive and move on. I want freedom from my thoughts, whatever you decide, since only you can see someone’s heart, is what I wish for him.
I had sort of forgotten about him and the situation, every once in a while something would remind me and I would think to myself.. what a jerk…lately I have occasion to think of him more frequently.
It seems he has been blessed with quite the spirited child who does not listen to anything he says. I have found myself at times wanting to yell out “Run Forest, Run” with a crooked smile on my face. But I do pray that the father learns how to be a kind and compassionate father and that the little boy grows up and has a wonderful life filled with hope and joy.
I have multiple tattoos on my body, each one of them of special signficance, several associated with a favorite bible verse. On my right shoulder underneath a picture of my sanctuary, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, is John 13:34 for those times I need a reminder.
Love one another as I have loved you.. which goes hand in hand with Matthew 22:39, Love your neighbor as yourself. When I start to have the thoughts …. almost immediately I hear that little voice in my head that says.. yes girl, THAT neighbor too! .
So if we want things to start turning around, we need to start loving our neighbors – even “that” one cause let’s face it, we are all somebody else’s “that” neighbor, friend, co-worker, family member, etc…
Now go, find somebody to love..