The sun, already risen, waited for me to come out to the garden. I poured myself a cup of coffee, then joined her. A breeze blew in off the ocean, swaying the blossoms to and fro. The finches were eating at the feeder, and the butterflies and bees bobbed about. All around me was the love of God, flowing throughout His creatures and creation.
So moved was I by the peacefulness, I wondered, How can people, who have God’s spirit within them, harm another who has God’s spirit dwelling within them?
“Fear makes people harm others,” God said.
“How can we help people to be unafraid?” I asked.
“Love them,” God answered.
“It’s hard to love someone who is doing hurtful things.”
“They still have my Spirit in them,” He reminded me. “To withhold love from them is its own type of harm,” He explained.
I allowed God’s words to settle into my heart, to always encourage me to love, no matter what. We sat together and enjoyed His creation waking up to the new day, a new chance to share and receive His love.
All night the wind blew, huffing and puffing as if to blow the house down. I stayed curled up in my bed, listening to its fury. Unable to take down the house, it turned its attention to the tall foxgloves. They moved to its whims, like an inflatable advertising tube man, collapsing and rising again, arms and hair flailing about. By night’s end, my favorite foxglove had bent too many times and was unable to right herself again. My heart was heavy when I saw her laying her soft head on top of the other flowers.
I lifted her and tied her gently to a bamboo stake so that she could once again take her rightful place in the garden. “We all need a helping hand now and then,” I told her as I tied the last string in place to secure her. “The winds of change blow in everyone’s direction.” I heard the gate swing open, it’s rusty hinges complaining.
“You’ve done good work here, Sparrow,” God said. “You’ve loved well this morning by helping one of my creations.”
“it’s what you’ve taught me to do,” I answered. “The more I know you, the more I want to love and serve others, just as you love and serve us.”
A yellow finch landed on the feeder and began singing. “That’s my cue to start my morning. Let’s have coffee together,” I suggested.
God nodded and we walked arm and arm up the steps to the house together.
The moon climbed high into the starry sky, spilling her pale light into my room. I readied myself for sleep—another day done. I took off my shoes and thought about the needy prayers I’d been praying lately, asking God for help with this and that. I knelt by my bed and prayed, “God, you’ve carried me through so many ups and downs in my life, I hope I don’t wear you out.”
“Love is never a burden,” He said, His voice soft and tender.
He lifted me onto my feet and pulled me to Him. There, in the lanternlight of His moon, I stood safe in His eternal arms.
“God is love.”
~1 John 4:8
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” God asked me as I lifted a pillow from the couch and peered underneath.
“I forgot where I put my car keys. Want to help me find them?” I asked.
“I didn’t mean your car keys,” God answered.
I dropped to my knees and looked under the couch. There they were! I picked them up and dashed out the door. I spent the entire day running errands. When I got home I curled up on the couch, exhausted.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” God asked me.
“You asked me that this morning. Sorry. I’ve been busy. What am I forgetting?”
“How much I love you,” God said with so much tenderness in His voice that my heart melted.
“Awwwwww. Thank you!”
“You get so busy that you forget the most important thing of all,” God said. “Love is the only real thing in life. Everything else is just an illusion, a distraction.” I thought about my hurried day.
“I love you beyond your wildest dreams. Beyond your comprehension. I’m always with you,” God said. “Will you remind the others, in case they have forgotten?”
“Yes, I’ll tell them,” I said.
“Tell them that I sing over them as they sleep at night. I watch over them by day. I celebrate every good thing in their lives. I mourn their every sorrow. I love them to the heights and depths of my creation, and beyond. My heart leaps every time they call my name, every time they remember me,” God said gently.
My eyes pooled with tears at the thought of how happy God is when we remember Him, and how often we forget Him. “Yes, I’ll tell them, God,” I promised. And so I have, with this Soul Reminder.
“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”
I stopped into a cafe to get out of the pouring rain. I ordered a cup of coffee and was shocked to hear the price. “Why is your coffee so expensive?” I asked.
“You aren’t paying only for the coffee. You are paying for the fine china it’s served in and the ambiance,” the cashier said as he waved his hand to show me the beauty of the cafe. I paid for my coffee and sat down and pondered his words.
How often am I paying attention to only one small part of God’s creation and not seeing it in the context of the whole? I give thanks for the food I eat, yet I seldom give thanks for the people who plant and harvest it. I don’t give thanks for the favorable weather that allowed the crops to grow. Nor do I give thanks for the insects that pollinate or ward off other insects that may want to eat the crops. I don’t give thanks for the microbes in the soil, or the air, or any of the myriad of things that go into the production of my food. In other words, I rarely see the full picture of the abundance and blessings of God.
When I think of all that goes into the production of my food, I am reminded of how intricately interwoven our lives are. What is affecting you today will somehow affect me, even if we are worlds apart. That commandment of Jesus’ to love one another was a way to ensure that we all have good lives, not just some of us. I sipped the last of my coffee and went back out into the storm. I had a new appreciation for humanity. It’s not “every man for himself.” It’s every man is me.”
(I first published this Soul Reminder 2/17/2017. A few months ago I stopped eating any animal products. It makes this Soul Reminder even more special for me as I know I am not paying someone to exploit, enslave, abuse, or kill another sentient creature in God’s creation for my tastebuds. That feels so good in my soul!)
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…”
I went out in the dark of night to get some space away from an exhausting day. Over my house hung a sliver of the moon and a star, side by side. I’m sure it was a planet, but which one, I don’t know. The two of them looked as if they could have been holding hands, gazing into one another’s eyes with deep affection. I smiled at the thought of celestial friendships—how everything hanging in God’s sky is in perfect harmony.
I breathed in the cool of the night, God’s own breath, and I wondered, Why can’t we be in perfect harmony with each other? I asked myself What do I need to do to love more? I went to bed with the desire to live in more peace and harmony with all of God’s creation.