Thursday, May 24, 2012

Love Remains & Makes a Wrinkle in Time

     I love you.     I miss you.  I’m grateful you’re in my life.  I’m praying for you.                                                              Those are four of the messages that have touched me deeply.  In the past week, it has been quite humbling, and in many ways healing, to go back through the letters, notes, cards, and such that I’ve saved over the years from family and close friends. 
Sometimes I can forget how powerful it is to receive a card, letter, or note from a loved one.  Many of us have gotten so used to texting, chatting, e-mailing, and maybe even picking up the phone once in a while that written correspondence seems even more precious.
Since the last complete sorting, recycling, cleaning out of our family room that I did, I’ve come to a new place with some things that let me know that I’ve grown, healed, and am ready to move forward.  This time through all my saved letters, cards, and notes from over the years, I was able to reread then recycle the ones that were for my bridal shower, our wedding, and the sympathy cards after my dad, James Lester Niermeyer, passed away in 2009.

Have I Told You Lately?
I’ve been re-struck by the overflowing, love, tenderness, and joy that is expressed in the mail I received from my dad, mom, sisters, Kevin, other family members, and close friends.  When I’ve drifted apart from some of the people that I used to be very close with, I tend to forget that there was a time when they were often reaching out to express their love for me in a variety of ways. 
Fortunately, genuine love remains.  The love others have given me has never been lost, even if different circumstances in my life kept me from being able to receive it as readily, openly, and gratefully as they would have liked at the time.  I don’t know where I’d be or who I’d be if the Lord, my parents, family, close friends, and loved ones only expressed love to me when I was receptive to it, when I had accomplished something, or when I was easy to love. 

Real Love Leaves Scars
Monsignor Shreve, the priest who officiated our wedding, gives a great sermon about how real love leaves scars.  It’s true.  Real love is sacrificial.  It doesn’t show up only when it’s convenient, easy, when all is well, but also, and perhaps more importantly, love is there when everything falls apart, when our defenses are up, and we make it virtually impossible to let any affection or compassion in.    
In the same way, the love we give is never lost, even if others aren’t in a place where they are able to receive, absorb, or appreciate it the way we’d like at present.  I definitely need that reminder.  Our commitment to love means sticking it out when others spit in our faces, berate our ministry work, try to take our religious freedom, or attempt to destroy who we are and what we stand for as children of God.

Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary 
Praise God that He loves each and every one of us even when we shut out His love, deny His existence in the world, in ourselves, and in others. 
Lord, I would like to learn Your selfless, unconditional love so that I may share it with others.  I pray that You would help me to accept Your love, though I know I don’t deserve it and can do nothing to merit it, so that I would be able to love others as You do.  Make me a living sanctuary for You.  I know I will never be able to give anyone all of the love, compassion, affection, and hope that they want and need in this life.  You alone can do that.  Only inasmuch as I am a vessel for You can such love flow through me.  Lord, I pray for Your Will.          
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