“Love GOD is patient and kind; love GOD does not envy or boast; it GOD is not arrogant or rude.
It GOD does not insist on its GOD’s own way; it GOD is not irritable or resentful; it GOD does not rejoice at wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
Love GOD bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love GOD never ends.”
~1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (Margaret’s translation)
She sat on the bench and fed the pigeons as if they were her only family.
Perhaps they were. I saw her every time I walked through the park on my way to work. I would smile and nod a hello. She always smiled back. One rainy winter morning, I saw her huddled under an umbrella, throwing sunflower seeds to the swarming birds at her feet. They didn’t seem to mind the wet. I pulled my scarf tighter around my neck and leaned into the cold breeze. She saw me and waved me over.
“I’ll share my umbrella,” she said.
“Sit down here,” she patted the bench next to her. I walked over and sat down. I was curious about her. I noticed her fingers were gnarled from arthritis. The skin on the back of her hands were weathered from years of hard work. She told me that her name was Margaret. I told her my name was Jennifer. She smiled as if my name were the most beautiful thing in the whole world. The birds that had scattered when I sat down, returned to scratch around at our feet.
“You feed the birds every day,” I said it as a statement, not a question.
She laughed. “Yes. Hardly ever miss.” She went on the tell me about herself. It was a captivating story. Then, right when I thought she’d tell me more, she stopped. Instead, she asked me, “Do you love yourself?” The question was so out of the blue that I laughed.
“Yes. I love myself more today than I ever have in all of my life,” I answered honestly.
She nodded. “I was hoping you’d say that.”
Love’s too precious not to let it into your heart. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love God. God is love, you know. And it would be such a shame not to know God. He gave us such a beautiful world to live in. Why, just look at all of the grandeur around us. Look at the naked trees, baring themselves in the cold. Look at that group of crows over there having a little get-together,” she smiled. See that mother pushing the stroller?” she pointed over to the sidewalk. “That’s God giving us another baby, another chance to love.”
“Margaret, it’s been a pleasure meeting you,” I said as I rose.
“I’ve got to get to work, but I’m going to take your words of wisdom and your friendship with me.” I leaned down and hugged her. “You are an angel,” I whispered in her ear. She looked deep into my eyes and smiled. I never saw Margaret in the park after that day. I sometimes wonder if God put her in my path to remind me that everything in our world, including myself, was created because of His immense love.
He called you into existence, too, with His love.
May that love wash over you as you read these words. May it fill your heart and spill out into your thoughts, words and deeds today. May it settle into your bones and abide in you forever and ever. Love never ends, you know. Neither does God.