You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Love’ tag.

Today is Mother’s Day, and even though my own mother is no longer with us, I still think of her often. When I was growing up, she made it a point to quote literary giants during the course of the day.

If I was dragging my feet getting ready to go to school, she might ask, “How long, O Cataline?”

If my brothers and I were misbehaving, we might get an earful of Shakespeare: “Assume a virtue if you have it not!”

Now, of course, this was said in a playful way. When we really crossed the line, she knew how to tell us so, in standard, and might I add, quite colorful, New Jersey English.

But it was really helpful to have a former English teacher around when I had to write an essay or got stuck on the origin of a word. “If you know Latin, you know English,” she would say.

On the other hand, I came to realize that I was nowhere near the refined, cultured lady that she was. “Enunciate!” she would say. She tried to improve and educate me.

When she would ask if I knew where that “O Cataline” reference was from, I’d say, “Cicero?” She would nod, then shake her head. “It’s pronounced ‘kick-er-oh.”

I wanted to say, But I’m not some ancient Roman, Mom. We live in New Jersey. Why can’t we say it regular? Or as some of us say in Jersey: reg-ya-luh. Still, I secretly enjoyed those conversations. Sure do miss her.

Let’s implement a new rule: for every memory that crosses your mind that makes you sad, come up with two thoughts that lift you up. It’s what your mother would want you to do.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Advertisements

Recently finished a biography of Bonhoeffer.  Will let this one speak for itself.

–SueBE

We’ve all been trapped in a meeting with a Carl.  Loud.  Speaking over everyone else.  The holder of every worthwhile idea.

Obviously, my first experience was with someone named Carl, a fellow student.  Maybe your Carl is actually a Carla because Carl comes in many guises. Carl might be an aunt who monopolizes every conversation.  Or a boss who dismisses the ideas of others as impossible or not how we do it. One factor remains the same, no one but no one else can have a worthwhile idea.  Carl contributes to every conversation and squashes it flat.

When you have a great idea or enthusiasm for a topic, it can be brutally difficult not to be a Carl. Especially when you are eager to help. You want to fill everyone with the same energy that has filled you.  The cause is urgent.  You want everyone to see that.

God knows that.  God knows that when we are filled with the Spirit we want to share it, sometimes more forcefully than is polite.  But that is why God gifts us with more than the Spirit.  We are also given self-discipline and love.  Together, that love can encourage us to draw out others who  may be timid and less confident to speak out.  What is your idea?  Have you observed something that might be helpful?

The power of the spirit enables us to bring change.  Love and self-discipline impact how we do it.  Three gifts braided together can truly be a force to move mountains.

–SueBE

Valentine’s Day seems the ideal time to contemplate the meaning of love. Not to be off-putting, but I think most people get it wrong. Love is not what you see on TV — passionate kisses, travel, excitement, diamonds the size of grapes. Or at least that’s only a tiny bit of it. Love, real love, is a whole lot grittier…and a whole lot more mundane. Here are just a few of the ways my husband says, “I love you”:

Love is giving me the last bites of his cake/cookie/pie, despite the fact that he would like to eat it himself, because he knows how much I love sweets.

Love is helping me slow my breath when I’m having an asthma attack.

Love is private jokes, a secret language, references only we know…but love is also taking the time to learn my family’s secret language and odd references, and using them like a pro.

Love is indulging my whim to try every taco place in town in search of the superior taco.

Love is always saying, “Thank you” after I’ve prepared a meal…no matter how inferior.

Love is massaging my shoulders as he passes through the kitchen, squeezing my hand in church, touching my cheek as I watch TV.

Love is accepting that our lives are not glamorous and being happy with simpler pleasures.

Love is going to Mass with me every week for years and years, despite being (at the time) an agnostic, and then surprising me with the happiest possible shock — becoming Catholic himself.

My husband’s love — much like God’s love — is always right there before me…if I take the time to look. Wherever you are this Valentine’s Day, whether in a romantic relationship or not, take time to search for signs of love. They may be simple, but they abound.

They say the wise man knows he knows nothing.
Though I am not wise, what I know could fit
on the width of a dime, on the lean edge
of a knife, on an atom. With careful cursive,
I could inscribe my life’s learning on the tittle
of an i. But what I know, I know boldly, down
to the soft center of my bones, a level so molecular
that the truth runnels into my porous soul
and mingles with my being. The truth is this:
Love is everything. It is quest and craft,
the only answer worth seeking, living and
dying for, chasing into strange lands and
distant ports. It is the only place to pin
your hopes, like stars on the blanket of the sky.
It is both work and worth of a lifetime.
But even greater: God is love.

Do you feel broken by recent events? I hear you. It’s hard to live in the here and now when here is untenable and now is rife with violence, greed and anger. Perspective helps, so let’s go back to the Sermon on the Mount. You know what Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice,” etcetera. Notice what he didn’t say? “…for they will inherit the earth — in twenty minutes!” Nope. All of those rewards Jesus talks about? Those are things that will happen in heaven, in the hereafter — “next life” stuff.

So how do you make it through this life when real justice will only occur in the next? Think long-term. Even the king of the fruit flies only lives 24 hours. Sure, he can buzz as loud as he likes, even assemble a fruit fly army…in the end, he is a nothing in a sea of nothingness. He is a grain of sand. He is a mote, a distraction, a flicker, an afterthought. This life is brief. The next life is eternal. Why waste time on negativity, selfishness or anger when there is so much joy to look forward to?

I’m not asking you to ignore life or to ignore the inequalities and injustice that surround us. Just the opposite. Keep working on it. Don’t give up because of “this world” distractions. Those are just fruit flies. Swat them away. Keep plugging away at justice, mercy, love and hope. Because that’s what will matter in the next life. And next life stuff is awesome. I want to be there for it. Don’t you?

We’ve been told and told — and still somehow don’t believe — that the only way to counter hate is love. Sure, it’s hard to hold love foremost in the face of evil. It’s hard to respond to the terrible atrocities of the last week or so with a loving heart and joyous words. And it is most difficult to love when all you want to do is shake people until their teeth rattle. But, Lord, I’m going to try.

Make of me, my God,
a new recipe: something sweet
and light, a flutter on the tongue,
butter-bright, subtly spiced.
When the bitter mouths bark, let me
flow in like honey, thick enough to
coat tongues and soothe aching throats.
May I be like bread baking,
like thick soup simmering on the stove,
a promise of warm contentment.
When you are done, may I spring up
in the pan, golden and fragrant,
impervious to anything
that is not an open hand reaching,
reaching to be filled.

It seems like every topic is a potential argument anymore.  Where do you go to church?  What school do your children attend?  That isn’t a swoosh I see on your shoe, is it?

With so much shouting going on, it can be really hard not to judge.  One thing that can help?  Remember that each and every one of these people is a child of God.  Not Christian?  So what.  If you believe God made people, he made non-Christians too.

When you feel yourself getting judgy, try to remember that.  Oh, right.  Child of God.  And he created us all in love.

It is okay to get frustrated but just remember, God loves you.  God loves them.  And, in truth?  We all probably annoy him.

–SueBE

When you decide to help someone or not, do you examine their situation with love?

Now I’m not talking tough love.  You know the kind I mean – you made your mess, now go deal with it yourself.

What I mean is the love that you would show your grandmother.  Or your best friend.  Or your dog.  Yeah, that’s quite a variety and I’m being a bit cheeky but pick whichever being you love the most.

The love we show each other should resemble the grace God has given us.  I always imagine that God is a lot like my Dad.  When we went into the city after he told us not to, he didn’t make us tough it out when we locked our keys in the car.  When I leaned all crazy in one of mom’s good chairs and got my elbow stuck through the slats . . . well, I did get a comment after that one.

But he always approached the situation with grace.  That’s the love we  need to have in our hearts for each other.

Now I think I should go make something special for Dad.  I may have been the easiest kid but that’s probably because I didn’t argue before I did something ridiculous.  I just did it.

Thank God for grace.

–SueBE

 

 

 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: