Here I am – completing yet another chaotic work cycle – another insane push to meet a crazy deadline. (Actually – I missed my deadline by about 13 hours – my perfectionist self declares with disdain…)
The last few weeks seemed worse than normal. I either ignored or failed to meet commitments to friends, family and colleagues. Every day a flurry of activity, constantly struggling but somehow always letting someone down. It is easy to feel I am simply a disappointment to everyone – family, friends, even God.
In the Old Testament, God spoke directly to Adam, Eve, Noah and even to Moses through a burning bush – God appeared and God spoke wisdom and direction. So, why doesn’t God speak to us in such a way? Why can’t God stand in front of me and re-direct my focus?
Perhaps these conversations with God in the Old Testament are figurative examples. Maybe God speaks through the people placed around us. When we declare God is silent it is more likely that we are not listening!
So we listen. And we surround ourselves with people whom we love and respect. And of course we share that same love and respect with others. (Love is the language of God, after all.) I am blessed to be surrounded by people who show mercy, forgiveness and love all the time – and in that, they remind me of the love and grace I receive from God, even when I feel it is not deserved.
On Friday night I went to dinner with my family. I got home late from work, and then ended up spending half the night on my phone sending emails. As we drove home in the dark, I sat next to my son in the back seat. I had to quiet him when a call came in. I took my call – my family sat patiently and waited (again) while work stole Mom away from the world.
At one point I said to my colleague something like: “I wish I would have…. I feel so stupid.” I hung up, and my son looked at me with those soul-piercing brown eyes and declared that I should not call myself stupid. In that short sentence he both forgave me for not making my role as mom top priority, while reminding me to treat myself with respect.
My husband supports and loves and picks up more slack at home that I could ever fully offer gratitude for. My sister is there – picking up the kids after school and being an amazing aunt, making sure my kids are happy and supported. My daughter is only 4, yet she cuddles close and asks about my day. She is sincerely empathetic and concerned about me. I’ve skipped church and missed meetings, yet my church community has reached out to me – not expressing anger or judgment at my absence, but offering concern and compassion.
Each little moment of kindness from these people I love is a reminder of my God who is present, speaking love through people in my life!
I am blessed, I am thankful. And with a simple commandment, I am called to be this love for others in the world; for my family and friends of course, but also for the marginalized, suffering stranger. I don’t know how the direction could have been more clear. I don’t need a burning bush. We just love! It is that simple.
And he [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40