Prayer of Love

Love, you are beautiful.

You shapeshifter, you.

One never quite knows when you will show up. You catch me off-guard many times.

Eye contact and exchanged smiles with a student in a hallway of movement and commotion. Prayer over the math book with the discouraged one on a particularly hard day. Laughter- kind and free and content. Holding hands as we careen around the rink playing chain tag. The one who returns to thank me for helping them- that one who comes back with thankfulness really does speak love. Drawings subtly left on my desk.

These things make my heart swell until it feels like it is too big for me and like it is going to turn into a balloon and I am going to float away.

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Love, you surprise me so often, but there are times when I have come to trust you to be there.

By my side doing dishes.

A shoulder for my tears and a heart for my heartaches and my delights.

Arms to hold me.

Laughter. Craziness. Silliness.

An imagination to dream and create with. Crazy, wild, creative dreams.

Pushing the cart as we collect groceries.

Taking my hand even when I am not being very nice or grown up or rational, if you know what I mean or ever have times like that.

Friendship deeper and deeper. Growing, burrowing, becoming more and more of me.

You are the one my soul loves. More and more.

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Love, you surround me when I go home to family and we all talk at once.

Love, I find you are in the wisdom, encouragement, humor, earnestness, and creativity of my friends.

Love, I feel you in the sunshine and the cold air as I walk home.  I feel you in the tired times, the bleak times, the aching times. You look like hope and you ripple like peace and you dance like freedom and autumn leaves and you smell like fresh flowers on my windowsill.

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Love, you wrap around me and I feel that You are real. Even on the days when hardly anything is right in the world and I don’t feel like I want anyone to love me. Some days it seems as though it would be easier to not be loved. Sometimes I don’t want to be held to the standard that love holds me to. Sometimes I don’t want the accountability that it brings.

But Love, you are kind. In a constructive sort of way.

Love, you sent your only son so that we could become your children, and because of that, we will love as thoroughly as we possibly can.

Love, give us strength and energy to bear the fruit of love and to believe that nothing can separate us from you. Not life or death. Not things present or things to come. Not height or depth.

Love, may we dwell in you.

Amen

 

The Following

If I were queen of the world, I would want story-telling to be a regular thing. I would invite lots of people to my place for campfires. We would make many campfires and break into many groups and we would sit under the stars with blankets and s’mores with peanut butter on them and I would want people to tell their stories to each other. Can you imagine this? Circles of people who have no connection other than their humanity. There would be sad stories that made you cry. There would be stories that would make you laugh harder than ever before. There would be big stories and small stories. Beautiful and ugly stories. And if we truly listened to each other, a beautiful thing would happen. Our eyes and hearts would open. Our hearts would grow softer and less selfish. We would understand each other in new ways. We would love each other in new ways. We would experience deep community. Our willingness to share would heal us. Our willingness to listen, to ache, and to laugh would heal us.

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There is so much tension in the world. So much heartbreak and loneliness. Please do your part to bring hope and love to the situation. You are needed.

We can love others right where we are. Right in the middle of ordinary life. When it comes to love, the small things matter. Initiating conversation, standing alongside, praying, listening, encouraging.

Jesus reached out to the lonely, the sick, the hopeless, the unlovely, the unclean, and he showed love to them.

May we do the same.

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