March is almost over but the smell of orange blossoms linger in the evening air.
Almost every evening I take a walk with my little doggy, Pip. No more bundling up. Just grab the leash and go. Our walks are a time for me to saunter and contemplate about all the blessings in my life and to gaze at the moon and feel like everything is perfect in God’s plan.
I have been very busy and overwhelmed, so just taking snippets of time to reflect fills me with gratitude. Some times I speak with God, and Pip wags his tale as if he understands.
During holy week my thoughts are consumed with the history of Jesus. It will be Good Friday tomorrow. Jesus had his last supper and then he washed his disciples feet. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? The son of God washing grown men’s dirty feet. He served them, knowing the agony he would endure in 3 days.
I love that story along with so many more in the bible. Stories of redemption, forgiveness, hope and Truth!
I never tire of hearing people tell how Christ redeemed them. I never tire of hearing the stories from folks like you and I. Everyone has a story. When one tells their story and the other listens in earnest, it is how we connect to each other. Telling our stories makes us more real to others. When we are the one telling it, I believe that process actually heals us just a little. When we are the one hearing it, we experience understanding and connection. But most of all it’s an opportunity to be compassionate.
I always feel like God is with me when I have the opportunity to hear someone’s story. Especially when I hear a story of redemption. But also when I hear a story of struggle. Like the complete stranger I was sitting next to at the Dr’s office. He was in pain. He had a kidney stone. He had no insurance and not much money. He complained a lot, mostly about the heath care system in Arizona. He needed someone to listen. I wanted to say something encouraging but he kept complaining. He said he had tried everything. I asked him if he had tried praying. He said he was an atheist. That did not stop me from telling him that God still loves him.
I have never been an atheist but I have been in his shoes, needing insurance, proper healthcare, in pain, not knowing how I am going to get through this difficulty. I understood he needed someone to listen to him. I obliged him.
God is always giving us daily opportunities to be like him. We really don’t have to look far. So each time I am confronted with someone who just wants to talk or tell their story, needing to be listened to, I ask myself, am I going ignore this person? Go find another seat? Or am I going to show a little patience, a little compassion and listen earnestly? This is how God works with me. I am not saying I am always as patient as I was with that fellow but the Lord is transforming me daily. You can have that too.
I encourage you to find a church this Sunday and celebrate what Jesus has done for you and our world. He has and is doing amazing things in my life and it is good news. And I am so thankful for the simple things like the smell of warm evening air wafting with the scent orange blossoms.
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