Monday, August 19, 2013

When It's Time To Live Love

The cicadas start thrumming their spirited song from high in the silver maple.

We're walking.

The most overweight dog and I.

The canine is winded by the first turn, where rows of  trees sprinkle the landscape and the gentle murmuring of lake water as it laps the shoreline. Edges of flaming red and burning saffron colors standout from the deep green foliage.

They all hint of summers passing.

I wave politely, as we pass the man with a walking stick. I don't know his name. but I know he is retired, holds a masters degree in agronomy, with a particular interest in plant genetics. He walks with the stick because he was bitten by a dog in our neighborhood some time back. It would be easier to remember his name than all that. His wife seems kind, though I've only talked to her briefly and we wave friendly.

Another man in our subdivision walks too. I call him "The Democrat,"  because that is the sum of what I know about him. Once I saw him in the park and he put his political parties sticker on my shirt, before I could tell him if I'd like one or not.

We nod and pass each other cordially, while he walks on slow, squeezing his tennis ball. 

My mind wanders to other neighbors. The lady who recently got a divorce, the ones who painted their house green, and the beautiful young couple who love working in their yard.

It's sad. That's all I really know about them.

Much of my life, I've lived in fairly remote areas, with the nearest neighbor three miles and more away. I was more neighborly then than I am now.

Everyone is busy living life, I tell myself  - -that's just the way it is.

But that isn't how my friend Florence thinks.

She is small in stature, giant in faith.

Often times, she doesn't sleep well, so she prays in the deep dark of the night. One day while I was in her home, the conversation turned to her neighbors. She spoke of the person or family represented by each house. Not to just know things to talk about, but to take a meal, send a card and most importantly, to pray for the needs she sees with her heart.

The place where I gather on Sunday, we've been learning about the " living you go." (Read here?)
(here it all here?)

The word "go" in that verse, means "as you go." It seems like it's about living wherever you currently are, not just packing a bag for another country.

And right after hearing these words, I'm running late to the party I'm suppose to be hosting, trying to get through a check out line, when the cashier starts telling me part of her whole life story.

She started with 2005 and a heart failure, how she had to learn a new way of living life and I'm breathing in, trying to look past my watch and into her deep brown eyes of pain.

Yes. This is where I need to pause, right now. 

How can I live love, right here with melting ice cream and a frail stranger? 

She's reaching out with her heart and I extend mine to her.

Because living love right now, right here, that is what matters.

I like what Ephesians 5:2 says too:

" a life of love, just as Christ loved us.."

Not, "if you feel like it." 
Not, "if there is time."
Not, "if they agree with you or like you  or if it feels comfortable."

It probably won't fit inside of convenient and what we understand.

My boss understands the, "as you go," thing. 
He gets the "live a life of love."

He came into work and asked if I had seen the picture of his kids.

I was polite and said, "no I don't think so... 
...not lately." 

He fumbled for a minute, scrolling through his phone and held up an image. Then he made the photo bigger so I could see their squinty-eyed, white-toothy-smiles.

Ya, I was surprised when it wasn't his son or daughter, but three beaming little faces that I didn't recognize.

"These are some of my kids that I read to, in a program though the school in the neighborhood," he beamed.

He had been a little skeptical of giving up his lunch, so he could sit on small chairs with kids who he guessed, would probably care less.

To his surprise the children bounce with excitement when they see him. Many of the kids in this program have difficult life situations. They know his name and they know he will show up, if he said he will. Few people I know of personally, have more pressure or responsibility, but he takes this thing serious, this giving and living love.

It was past my bedtime, when I read a message just a few days ago.

The words made me choke back tears, and the oxygen seemed sucked from my lungs.  

The name that flashed across the screen, brought to my mind a beautiful little girl, with chestnut hair and soft tendrils of slender curls framing her face. Now, two decades past, this shy little girl is a woman, with a child that reflects her mama's beauty. 

Her message spoke of  how she was searching God and faith, and that she remembered us from her childhood and how our family was the first realization of His existence.

With cracking voice and through tear-blurred lines, I tried to read the e-mail to JQ.  

She is a voice from a time and a neighborhood long past. I only remember living life and that she was a friend of our daughter. 

She remembers it differently.

I know this, whatever good she saw in us, had to be Jesus-in-us.

And it is confirmation, that what we do really matters.

It matters that we take time to drink coffee with the couple down the street or when I grab another neighbor and take her on a crazy unplanned road trip adventure, so we can laugh because I have no idea where I'm going or how I could have missed the turn, and I can't read my own writing.

It matters when we look through eyes of  respect to the homeless person, smile at the one who cut in line, be appreciative to the person at the drive through window, be kind to the ones who are unkind and take time to talk to the ones who others pass over.

It matters that we read to our children, our grandchildren and to someone else's jittery children. 

The verse says "go."

And "go" means, " you go..."

Because time is passing too quickly and you never know if this is that someone's, final day on earth.

Like the cashier, we all need to learn to live in a new way.

The way of Love.

Nothing we do is insignificant. 

We live like Jesus, to the people we come in contact with, because they need us to be different than everyone else.

Love those that we can today we go.

Live. love. right now.

post signature


Post a Comment

I love hearing from you! Thank you for stopping by.

© Rhonda Quaney