It’s been a strange, beautiful, nostalgic New England weekend. It’s our first real cold weather. The trees are changing colors. Apple picking is in full swing. You can find pumpkin everything in nearly every store. It’s the time of season where you sort of get sick of apple pie and apple crisp that others bring to events to get rid of their apples.
Fall is strange. It’s the season that ushers in winter; the hard season. It’s as if God beautifully paints our foliage before the harshness comes. Fall is beautiful, but it leaves me anxious this year. The last few falls have been very difficult. And I’m rolling with it, because I can’t do anything else. But anxiousness is hard. I’m not sure what to expect.
Today on the drive home from a weekend trip I just cried. Tears for people I love who are struggling. Tears for people I just want to make things right for, but can’t. So often I wish I could take their suffering, their hurt away, even if it cost me. Empathy is a gift, but it’s costly.
I see so much Jesus in you, not because you’re perfect, but because you’re not.
I came in my house and found a dear friend sitting there. SURPRISE. I literally leaped onto her on as she lounged on the couch, a full body embrace. We chatted and drank tea. We talked about the ups and downs of our week. I laid on her lap and wept. And she just rubbed my hair and proceeded to encourage me in ways my soul had been parched of for many seasons.
Often we are quick to point out others flaws. We continually remind others of them, things they need to work on. Not often enough do we tell people the things we see that are GOOD in them, the positive things, the things that are Jesus like. My dear friend said she remembered when I was near “perfect”. I did nothing wrong. I was semi stoic and had all the “right” doctrine for every issue. Now I am sort of this messy blob, trying to find my way half blinded, half hoping. She said she sees more Jesus in me than anyone she’s ever met, not because I’m perfect, but because I am not anymore, because I am so honest with my faults and failings and shortcomings, that Jesus is all the more real in me. That I still am able to do and be all that I am AND be a mess is a testimony of the power of God and the gifts he’s given me. WOW.
I talk to my counselors about you. I mean, who would send me an empathy card after I broke up with my boyfriend? Maybe people would send a card if they thought I was sick and dying, MAYBE, but for a break up? No one but you. You live as if you recognize the frailty of life and that grief comes from all sorts of places.
I don’t feel very hopeful often. But my dear friend pointed out that, though I may not feel hopeful, I LIVE with much hope, and that is much much greater. That’s real courage. Real integrity. I am involved in many things, pursue others, care well. I have every reason to have given up. But I have not. Friend said she has never met another person who loves people so personally by recognizing the frailty of life that each dear person has.
How encouraging to know that though I battle and fight many days and feel like a failure, my life is still lived with much hope and expectation and joy in God.
The world needs more people to embrace that which is GOOD in others and SPEAK it alive to them. No one will ever die saying they had too much encouragement. God can tear the things in our hearts down well enough. We don’t need one another doing it as well. Let’s be a people known for our exhortations, praise and gratitude, and affection for one another. A people that looks at the image of God in each person and declares it GOOD.