Above all, constantly echo God's intense love for one another, for love will be a canopy over a multitude of sins. Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God's grace.~I Peter 4:8,10 (The Passion Translation)
It's hard to know what to do. Seems the world just keeps getting sadder by the minute. There is a tendency to give up, give in. But somewhere deep in our hearts, we know that to remain in fear and despair is not the answer.
A few weeks ago, I wrote in a post that our hearts had been plowed by the racial unrest in our midst. I asked my readers to write to me about what they wanted to plant in the furrowed fields of their hearts. The consensus of the response was this: I will love better. I will pray for peace and justice. I will do what God calls me to in my sphere of influence. One reader provided this beautiful metaphor: "I received this vision of a smiling God holding a huge burlap bag marked GRACE in red letters. All I had to do was snip a corner and begin planting seeds in the fertile ground."
What if we all snipped the corners of our burlap bags and began planting the seeds God has gifted us with?
At times, I don't regard my gifting as enough to do much good. The main part of my work is listening. Holding space for people in pain. Just this week, I sat, "metaphorically," with a woman in a telehealth session. Less than a year ago, her two teenage grandchildren were killed in a car accident.
She said, "I don't really want to talk about what happened, yet I do. People tell me, people that are supposed to love me, say, 'You've got to move on.' But what if I don't want to move on? What if moving on makes me forget?"
"It feels good to say aloud what you're really thinking. To get those words out in the open," I said.
"Yes!" she almost shouted through the phone. "I think the thing I want most through all this pain is to be real. I just want to be real. I don't want to have to pretend."
"Sometimes to be real can feel unsafe in our culture. People can feel afraid of our realness."
"I know," she said. "Maybe moving toward being real is something good that can come out of all this tragedy--a sort of weird paradox. Thank you for being a safe space for me," she said. "I didn't expect I'd say these things today."
I'd uttered two sentences. Perhaps my breath over the phone, another human being listening, was an echo, a bright strand threaded through the tapestry.