We held a small memorial for a little creature whose ability to receive love taught us all a big lesson: to love is to name is to care is to keep. It is to mourn and to cry, too; and it is to continue to create and care about the living and the dying and the not-yet-born.
One does not need to do anything remarkable to be an object of love. One only needs to be that which it is – cat, boy, mom, dad, human, alive.
Several years ago, when Angelo and I were young and just starting out in life together, we attended a toxic church. We didn’t know it was toxic, and we were young, and green and willing to jump in and help. We served by helping in the youth ministry with junior high kids. A ragtag bunch of kids met with us in the church basement where we tried to lead worship, share the gospel, and be their friends. Most of the kids lived in the apartments around the church, some were from church-going families. Sometimes the kids would be so ornery during youth group we wondered why they came at all. Our pastor at the time warned us one day about investing too much in these rowdy neighborhood kids. He said the goal of the ministries of the church was to bring people into the church as regulars. Regular attenders who would become regular members, who would regularly serve in ministries themselves and become regular givers. He said if a ministry didn’t provide material growth, …
This is a story about a king who would be born, raised up to power and chosen by God to free his people from captivity, to return them to their homeland and restore them. But it’s not a story about Jesus.
I’m not sure how that works, how one taps into a lake spring, I’m more of a turn-on-the-faucet kind of gal, but I know I have a river, a life-giving, fresh Living Water source, too. It runs deep and it’s best realized when my life isn’t blue skies and sunshine, but steely gray and stormy and iced-over. It’s at those times that I can locate the source of peace and tap into it’s goodness, finding life and refreshment and hope, even in the midst of winter.
He called my story a sob story. That would make me the “sob-ber” –not really attractive. He then proceeded to call my story and how I told it –dumb. Three times dumb, said he. And it cut a little, like a strip of stray wood cuts the soft flesh of a palm, digging into the cutaneous layers, unwelcome. And my first response was to flush pink in a rush of hurt and anger. After all, I am my story and my story is I. And yours is you, is it not?