Hmmm…well, this one was hard and I had to do a work around to accomplish it. I sent a digital Starbucks gift card to a good friend, who recently has had some sad times. I could not stop to get her a coffee or favorite drink because there isn’t a whole lot of time in the morning before I have to be at school and when I leave my home. I have to make sure my little gal has lunch, my husband and I have our lunches and we have to drop her at my parents so they can take her to school before we head in for work. So I consider what I did a cheat but at least she can pick out a favorite drink for herself or her son at a time that is best for her.
While we were reading the daily mass readings on our way in this AM, my husband and I came across Share the Journey, https://www.sharejourney.org/meet-your-neighbors/, here’s the link if you want to check it out. Anyway, it’s about migrants, refugees, I guess this is a hot button issue for some people, sorry if that’s you. It’s common sense to me, but maybe I’m not that common. We have two big commandments we are supposed to follow, if you are a Christian, the first is to love God, basically meaning to surrender our life to him daily and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. It’s kinda hard to accomplish the second of these commandments when we are building walls and other such non-sense. I know, I know, the country needs to be secure and maybe walls have their place here and there, maybe it’s not even the wall I object to but the way migrants and refugees are characterized. It’s disheartening. So on that Share the Journey link you will find stories about refugees and how they ended up here in America. They are worth reading through.
I can’t find anywhere in the bible where Jesus said to love our neighbors only if they look like us or act like us or vote like us. I can’t find it anywhere in the bible that we should regard those with opinions different than ours as somehow less enlightened or less intelligent or bigots or hateful people. I’ve looked and instead I’ve found stories about the Good Samaritan and the one we read today about the Centurion who asked Jesus for help. Can you imagine? A Roman soldier asking some guy, who could have been anyone really, to cure his servant. What did he see in him? Last Friday’s reading was about Andrew and Simon and how they dropped everything to follow Jesus. Phew, everything. What did they see in this guy? I would have liked to have been there to feel it, because I can’t imagine what they felt was anything really different than how I felt when God called me, except, of course, they could see Him. Boggles my mind. Things like that and Paul, gosh, Paul, total transformation, willing to die for someone he never met in person.
The retreat question from this digital retreat:
How are we willing to make room in our lives for the sufferings and joys of others, how do we do it and how could we do it better?
Upon examination of my own life I could definitely do better. I think I’m good at being there for friends and family when something sad has happened. I make a point to attend funerals for my friends when they have lost parents. I make a point to attend funerals for good friends from church. I could do better in the after math of loss. I could stay in better contact and check-in more often. Sadly, the speed at which life travels isn’t always conducive to this. I could make the time, if I really stopped to think about it and plan my day with the right priorities.
Joys are easy I think, who isn’t happy for the announcement of a wedding, a baby, a job promotion, or some other little thing, kid gets into a certain college or someone buys a new house. I guess maybe that’s harder to do if you let jealousy take over. I wasn’t always genuinely happy for people when good things happened to them but it was because I saw their “success” through the lens of my “failure”.
Some joys are hard. Baby showers are still hard for me, as an infertile woman, barring a miracle, past child bearing age. I’m happy for the new parents. I just don’t want to sit in a room full of women chattering about their birthing experiences. Women who give birth sometimes have the habit of looking down on women who don’t. I don’t think they mean it that way. I once had to listen to a friend complain or maybe she wasn’t but go on and on and on about how she couldn’t breast feed her baby. Another about how her birth plan didn’t go right, she had to have a cesarean. Both times I wanted to bolt, one was over email and so I did bolt, just stopped reading. It was painful to me and it felt like cruel and unnecessary information to share with a barren woman. I know it wasn’t meant that way, and I know it was information shared because I was a friend but it didn’t stop me from wishing sometimes people would take into consideration my hurts and feelings in this particular area. Again, just my lens. So I have an issue with joy in this department. I have planned several baby showers for my siblings, well three and with the exception of one, two of them were couples showers so my husband could be there with me. I even sang at two of them. We had a baby shower for our little gal but it was clearly an adoption shower and as there was no pregnant mom there for other ladies to give advice to I quite enjoyed it!
I’m not sure this particular pain is supposed to be healed because being able to connect with the deep sadness and at times despair of infertility allows me to connect with people in their grief. Don’t get me wrong I have prayed for God to ease this pain but he hasn’t and so I must need it for something. Paul says, His grace is sufficient. It’s going to have to be for me too.
Bottom line is I can do better in both areas. I’m glad for the question so I could think about how.
Well I have to go, the rest of my afternoon is super crazy, piano lessons, picking my husband up, dinner somewhere in there, homework, house stuff and start again tomorrow. Monday’s are kind of hectic.
I am thankful today though for a chance to learn more about Share the Journey, super thankful for my work schedule, it’s mostly a half day schedule that allows me to pick my little gal up from school and be home in the afternoon, Trader Joe’s, I stopped there today to pick up some raw sunflower seeds for the granola I’m making tonight. I will also be thankful today for joy and pain, because they are both powerful enough to bring people together….for all these things…I Give Thanks!
Here’s the digital card I sent to my friend. I liked the cute bear!