It is a gorgeous time of year here in Tennessee. Last night Will, Sam and I took the golf cart to Sunset Rock and watched the sun slip below us. Isn’t it stunning how fast it goes? Once it starts to sink into the horizon it appears to jump into hyper speed. If the sun really is moving that fast all day, no wonder life flies by. Then we came home and laid on our lounge chairs, and the moon was so bright that it was almost like daylight. I hope you too have had time this spring to behold creation and sit in stunned reverence.
Because mini-retreats may be more important than ever. No other generation has been bombarded 24/7 with the tumult of the world. Blissful ignorance was more conducive to feelings of peace and harmony, and I don’t think for a minute we were created to carry the burdens of our world. Two thousand years ago when Jesus told his followers to give Him all their cares and burdens, He wasn’t talking about their burdens regarding world peace or conflicts across the globe. People didn’t even carry burdens from across town, because mostly they didn’t know about them. Forgive the hypocrisy of writing this on a blog — the irony is not lost on me — but I think we need to focus more, not exclusively but more, on where God has placed us. Do what you can do in your circle. Make an impact with the people you brush shoulders with every day. Weighing in on every conflict, even just being informed about every conflict, is exhausting and ineffectual. Social media has fed this fruitless fire in such a harmful way. Let’s quit thumbs upping accomplishments and hug someone instead. Let’s quit venting about injustice and go do something tangible.
The thing is when you stop trying to love humanity, which is easy, and instead start trying to love actual people, you learn something: people can be difficult. But I came across the best quote this week. I think it’s going to help you. I know it helps me.
Before I tell you what it is, I’ll tell you the circuitous way I came across it. One of the sweet ways I bonded with my mom was through music. Only God knows how many songs I played for her over the years. As a teen, I remember playing The Cure’s Pictures of You. I knew she’d like it. When I first heard the Gettys, I immediately ordered a CD for my mom. Her devotion to their music rivaled my own. One year she and I got to see An Irish Christmas together.
But the best musical gift I ever gave her was when I took her to the Gaither Homecoming concert in 2004. The Gaithers wrote many of my moms very favorite songs, and we talked about that evening for years. When I went through my mom’s belongings, I came across the book Because He Lives: The Stories and Inspiration Behind the Songs of Bill and Gloria Gaither. I read it a while back but was flipping back through it this week.
And that’s where I found this quote:
Think of the hardest person to love you know, the most difficult person in your life. You can just count on it: That is a person who doesn’t feel loved. That is the person who most needs to be loved.
You only have to reflect for two seconds to be convinced Gloria Gaither is spot on. You can just count on it! And that really helps me to understand others and to understand myself when I’m the difficult one. I hope it blesses you as well.
Paul’s words that close out his second letter to the church at Corinth summarize our responsibility:
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11.
May we rejoice, restore, comfort and agree together this weekend and always.