You give me a better way to live, so I live as you want me to.
– 2 Samuel 22:37
You give me a better way to live, so I live as you want me to.
– 2 Samuel 22:37
When I entered the side of the church, I noticed there was no Holy water. I knew the dispenser was at the front, so I pulled out the inner font to get a refill. I had plenty of time to go back and forth before other parishioners arrived.
At the entrance, I turned my attention to the Holy water vessel in the corner. I pushed the button but the spout was bone dry. I turned to our Pastor, also in the vestibule, readying the other celebrants. He must have seen my unknowing expression, and said, “Let’s take care of that right now. Go to the sacristy and find a bucket. Bring me some water to fill it up.”
I’ve not spent much time in the sacristy and didn’t remember seeing any buckets. Regardless, I headed back into the church to help address what I interpreted as a religious crisis.
Now in the sacristy, I saw songbooks to my left and a closet of robes on the right. The sink was straight ahead but there were no buckets. I spun around: a cross, a bookshelf, a wastebasket, Ahh! a big green watering can.I filled it as fast as the faucet would allow.
I walked as calmly as I could, back down the aisle of pews, with my creative plastic salvation.
I filled the stainless steel vessel and Father approved by saying, “Now go get a couple more of those.”
Back in the sacristy, I hurriedly focused more on filling the green watering can than which way my water spout was tipped. At the half full mark, I realized I was spilling water all over the counter. I reached for the first thing I saw and wiped up my mess with a crisp white piece of linen that was probably already blessed for another occasion.
Knowing the error of my ways, I walked as solemnly as I could, past all the pews filling with parishioners.
I added the contents of my second watering can to the Holy water vessel. Father peeked in and said, “One more should do it.”
The pressure! I couldn’t imagine how Moses or the apostles felt being spoken to by God. I was sweating unholy bullets just trying to fill a water vessel for the local Pastor.
I returned to the sacristy a third time without incident.
Until I started to walk back. The woman that cares for the altar was in the first pew. She had seen my mission from the start, stopped me and said, “We use that for the plants. We put Miracle Grow in there, ‘ya know.”
My heart immediately sank. I wasn’t even done yet and had also slopped up one of her linens in the process. I smiled at her with no answers, or options, and continued past everyone in the church.
I poured my last full watering can into the Holy water receptacle. Father readied to give a quick blessing while I considered what the woman said to me.
– Nobody will be drinking it.
– Father was aware of my bucket choice.
– We resolved the situation in record time.
After the blessing, I put the stainless steel cover back on top of the Holy water dispensary. I refilled the font insert and replaced it at the side of the church. I considered how Holy water renews faith. Some believe it also repels evil. Maybe this batch would even help miracles grow?
If someone says, “I love God”, but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?
Photo credit: Wikipedia
My life changed after using the last Q-tip Monday night. Sincerely. I planned to pick up a new box on Tuesday once I finished at the library. The pharmacy was right next door but I managed to forget. On Wednesday, I didn’t think about the Q-tips until I climbed out of the shower that night. Frustrated I muttered, “Oh God! …Let me remember cotton swabs next time I’m out?!” I put on my pajamas and wrote ‘Qtips’ on our refrigerator shopping list.
Thursday was my birthday, so my focus was certainly not on Q-tips or any other kind of cotton swab. I readied for work, caught the train to Boston and bought munchkins for our office. Nobody knew it was my birthday and the morning went by slowly. At noon, I decided to stretch my legs, get some fresh air and take a walk.
The tourists were on the Freedom Trail and the office workers were sitting down to cafe lunches or walking back to buildings with their to-go sacks. I walked with a fast stride, smelled the aromas and listened to the sounds of the city. I watched all the people but saw the homeless. How hard is it for them to watch the feeding frenzy?
The rest of the story that follows is not an event I would typically discuss; moments that happen in my Christian life are between myself and God. However, I feel obligated to spread these special words because I think God works in mysterious and beautiful ways.
I passed many storefronts at a quick pace.
Until I didn’t.
My stride slowed and uncontrollably stopped. I was suddenly standing in front of a very crippled man in his wheelchair. The sensation didn’t scare me and I was not afraid to be with this helpless person. I wanted to assist but didn’t know how. I do know not to give money in the streets. There is a shrine, a soup kitchen and a shelter nearby.
I found myself saying words i hadn’t even formed in my mind yet:
“What can I help you with today?”, as I bent over his chair.
His response was slow, labored and garbled. I didn’t understand anything that he was straining so hard to express.
My soul bled for him as I looked to his hands for some aided expression.
They were twisted and fist-like with long, dirty nails.
They grabbed my heart.
“I am sorry, tell me again.”, now I had to know.
He tried once more, working hard to form lips and sound.
I turned my ear toward him and thought I heard words.
Trying to match a food with what I thought I heard, I questioned, “Chips?! You want potato chips?” I turned back to face him, hoping to see acknowledgement in his eyes.
They were covered with black sunglasses; it was a beautiful sunny day.
Don’t let me give up, I thought. This is my fellow human being. He turned his head, left and right and then directly at me.
A definite but pleading “No.” registered in his mouth and my ears.
I had his lunch request all wrong, didn’t know what else to do, and then, at that very defeated moment, I heard his continued mumble as clear as a foggy day.
He spoke more slowly. “No, Q-tips.” and low but distinct, “I need Q-tips.”
I froze. In elation. For so many reasons.
“Of course. You know what?”, I was so happy and continued, “I need Q-tips too. I’ll buy some for both of us.”
It was as easy as the nearby CVS and the cosmetics aisle. I was overjoyed that I’d waited to understand. Coming together may have been God’s plan all along? My spiritual life changed because remembering new Q-tips helped me not to hear, but to see, in a whole new way.
Happy Birthday to me.
You were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
– Galatians 5:13
The truth will set you free.
The Lord says, “This is My agreement with these people: My spirit and My words that I give you will never leave you or your children or your grandchildren, now and forever. “
Her frail body and worn bathrobe shuffled out to check the mail, looking for something besides Publishers Clearinghouse notices to guide her future. The routine and an old, stiff, rusty around the edges mailbox was a mirrored reminder of who she now was. A whimsical relic of the past that heard from nobody. Life at the wrinkled age of 93 was junk mail at best. Lots to share but tossed aside on a daily basis. Faith kept her standing on her own two feet as she awaited the the Good News.
Trust in God
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born in the spirit.
– John 3:8
I do hear You and even though I don’t know which direction we are headed, I am dedicated to this journey. Amen.
Your first cries were soothed with my milk and heartbeat.
Hugs and kisses calmed most else.
Band-aids and bacitracin covered your childhood.
But now you’ve graduated to anguish…
and I cannot stop your tears –
even if I went to the ends of the earth.
The love you’ve lost wasn’t mine to control.
You can only heal yourself now.
I pray that time
and good memories
help you to live with the hurt.