On my walk this morning I noticed someone had emptied trash from their car into the gutter—Starbucks cups, cigarettes, and greasy food containers piled in a heap. “That’s not a pretty sight to see on this fine morning,” I said to God. “It detracted from the joy I was feeling from the sunshine.” We walked on in silence as I processed my thoughts.
“I don’t want to leave trash and disturb others,” I said. “Not just consumer trash, but the trash of my mind, the fears that cause me to hurt others. I want to live my life so that others are encouraged, not harmed.”
“That’s the best way to live,” He said.
I thought some more. “I want to leave your world a better place for my having passed through it.”
“Keep loving every living being, including yourself, and you’ll do just fine,” He replied.
“In that case, I’ll stop resenting the person who threw out that trash,” I laughed.
“Atta girl,” God said and smiled.
Do I not fill heaven and earth?
Sitting outside the local cafe, I watched the people walking by. There were short ones, round ones, brown ones, black ones. White ones, tall ones, happy ones, sad ones. Everyone that walked by showed me a face of God.
I sipped my coffee and marveled that I am so blessed to be a part of God’s creation which He so graciously inhabits. When my cup was empty, I got up and went on my way, aware that my face, too, reflects God. Better behave in a way that is in alignment with that, I thought to myself, then smiled at the child of God walking toward me.
We have all received grace.
I opened the email and read the first few sentences with a heavy heart. Clearly, my friend was upset with me, even though I didn’t think I had done anything wrong. My first reaction was to defend myself from her accusations. My fingers hesitated over the keyboard, ready to type out a terse reply. But God stopped me. I took in a slow deep breath and exhaled.
“You, too, have lashed out at others,” God reminded me. “You too, have felt the fear and resentment that seeps in when we view someone as an enemy, as “other.” You know the pain your friend is feeling.”
I pondered His words for quite some time. “What is it that you show us?” I asked, although I already knew the answer. “You show us grace, even when we are not deserving,” I said.
My fingers slowly typed out a message. “I am sorry that I have caused you pain. I love you and hope that we can repair this rupture between us.” I pressed the send button and breathed a sigh of relief. God extends grace to me. I can extend it to my friend. Hopefully, she will extend it to me. Hopefully we all will extend it to each other.