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Breathtaking Love

cleaning-supplies

Neither of these two women consider themselves Christian.

In fact, after growing up in a Christian home, they have eschewed the title, the practice, the faith.

But their practice of virtue is breathtaking.

One is married to a man whose father has never been kind to her.  In fact, the ugliness and inappropriate nature of his advances toward her, his lifestyle, and behavior have done anything but enrich her life.

Last week, he overdosed.

It was the smell that alerted his neighbors.  When the police and the coroners arrived on scene, he had been dead many days.  Things broke open when they moved the body.  The apartment was a mess.  A big, liquid, ghastly-smelling mess.

Her husband, stunned, went home.  With family arriving the next day to remove his belongings from the apartment, this woman called cleaning service after cleaning service.  The prices to clean up such a scene were in the multiple thousands of dollars, well beyond their means.

“My husband’s grandma has a bad heart,” she told me on the phone as she gathered supplies at the hardware store.  “I really don’t want her to walk in there tomorrow and see all that.”  So, in the middle of the night, she went alone to the apartment and cleaned up what I hope is the very worst chaos she will ever see.  Then, she went home to comfort her husband.

Relatives arrived and stayed in her house.  For a week, she fed them, handled the cremation, the burial, the memorial service.  She even filled lockets with ashes, sifting through the urn’s contents with a care that had never been extended to her by the dust’s owner.  All of this she did with kind words and not a trace of bitterness.

Her sister, learning the weight the woman carried, drove through three states in the middle of the night to stand by her side.  While the husband’s family gathered, the sisters took care of one another, anticipating needs, extending support, creating a safe, comfortable environment for the grieving family.  Then, without fanfare, the sister drove home again.

Of all the virtues, Faith, Hope, and Love reign.  But the greatest of these is a love undeserved.  A love extended to one who has no human right to expect it.  A love that creates order in a place that would turn most people’s stomachs, comforts those who grieve for one who gave no kindness.  A love that covers great distance and stands like a rock to support another.

That love is breathtaking.

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About that workout…

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Hi there, Dear One,

It’s me, God.

I enjoyed our talk this morning, and I see you there, scrubbing the floor at the firehouse.  That black gunk under the chair legs really does make the room look grungy – thanks for taking  the time to make it more beautiful. Beauty reflects me. Draws people to me.

Careful not to think judgmentally about the people don’t care about the cleanliness of the room.  You don’t have my perspective about why the dirt doesn’t bother them.

I hear you thinking about working out.  It’s true, scrubbing the floor with the sponge under your boot is a lot like an aerobic workout, but I much prefer you use the movements of a workout for a better purpose.

I would much prefer to see the empty motions and actions be filled with meaning and purpose by putting them at the service of others.

Imagine how much could be accomplished for your neighbor if the same two thousand leg and arm motions of a long run were instead used to shovel a driveway, clean a floor, or chop some wood for a poor man’s stove?  And if you did that every day?  If everyone did it every day?

Your workout would have real meaning.  It would change the world!  It would take the ‘self’ out of all those motions.  Isn’t that why you want to work out?  To look more like the definition of beauty in the early 21st century?  Dear one, that is very selfish.

I love you and will show you where my children can best use the energy you put into those workouts.  If you ask.

I’m here when you want to talk,

God

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