“Mom, did you read this?” asked my middle daughter, indignation edging her voice. I looked up and into the eyes of my oldest daughter, her ice blue eyes swimming in tears, and set down my tea. Seconds later, my youngest daughter sidled close and silent, and I reached for the iTouch in my middle daughter’s outstretched hand, reading the words in question, twice.
“Oh, wow,” I breathed.
“Mom,” quavered my oldest daughter’s voice, “is that really what Mrs. O* thinks of us?”
How could I answer that? Yes? No? Maybe? Well, she doesn’t actually think that of you, but of me. Well, not exactly of me either. It’s just that the situation is sticky and intense and cuts close to the quick, and in the click of a few keys, political angst became personal, and words not meant for your eyes sailed onto your screens.
Oh, Lord, this is impossibly hard! I don’t want to dig deep this morning. I’m tired of searching for You in the nimiety of too much -- too many choices glutting our time, too many blessings we ignore or worse yet take for granted, too much stress and anxiety and fear and competition, too many words, too much emotion, too little patience and compassion and grace, too many expectations, appetites of entitlement, a hunger for expedience, a thirst for recognition, but for what, for whom, to what possible end? Loving others is hard, Lord!
“And inconvenient and consuming,” echoed the words of a poem I’d published just last month.
Love is inconvenient
Sometimes requiring more than I have --
More than I can imagine,
More than I’m willing or able to pay.
And yet I do.
It’s easy to give in abundance
When the cost is light and time is free,
But when the price inflates,
I balk, clenching my fist against
Fear creeping in among the shadows,
Refusing to expend,
Determined to preserve myself.
Because love hurts
And it costs everything.
All I have, all I feel,
All that I am.
“Oh, Lord,” I cried, “forgive me. Forgive me for clenching my heart in self-protection and nearly allowing those irascible words to reap their empty harvest in my heart, damaging a treasured relationship. For here You are in the midst of this moment whispering grace to my weary soul -- peace, mysterious and perfect, joy so exquisitely tender it hurts, and freedom to love with compassion, even when it’s hard, maybe especially when it’s hard.”
Embracing my trio of girls, we gave thanks for this hard, beautiful, messy blessing and for the tender gift of living each day sheltered in the cleft of our Heavenly Father’s intensely perfect LOVE.
*Name and relationship changed.
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