Posted on Leave a comment

Bursts of Joy

“Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments.

Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down the extraordinary moments.

Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.

A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable. I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, and inspiration.”

Brene Brown

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22 NASB

There are two things every morning when I wake up that give me a lot of joy…

The first (and this is not gratuitous mushiness) is that I see my wife, Mary Ann, and immediately smile.

The distant second thing is the very first cup of coffee.

Yes, they are simple, but I measure joy by the amount of gratitude I feel every time that joy shows up.

If I go “in search” of some experience that will produce joy…it rarely ever does…show up, that is.

Joy is not a bunny rabbit playing hide and go seek with me. It doesn’t want me to pursue it and find it…because I never will. I will only find its cheap imposter friend…

As Leonard Ravenhill said it best…”Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy.”

Rather, real joy sneaks up on you in ordinary day-to-day events of life and can make you laugh until your stomach hurts… or weep with tears of joy.

It arrives the moment when your neighbor’s fourth-grade child innocently says out loud while you are sitting on their deck,

“Dad, I tried coming into your bedroom on Sunday morning, but the door was locked, and it sounded like you and Mom were killing each other in there!”

Yeah, you can’t buy those moments!

It isn’t just the comedy that your neighbor is embarrassed by…it is a pure joy that everyone will remember forever. Joy sneaks up on you like a fourth grader…it sneaks up on you like Dennis the Menace.

Joy comes when, at 64, you see a picture of your son interviewing the Secretary of State…THE Secretary of State in a one-on-one interview. There is so much pride in your heart because you remember that all of his life growing up, he said,

“I want to be a journalist.” Joy produces that pride and thankfulness.

It is always in the ordinary things…in the unrehearsed first day of work, when your new employer says, “You were a good hire.”

It happens when you stand in front of your new house, still under construction, and your wife begins to cry…because it’s your first home…and she already sees Thanksgiving in the dining room ten years into the future.

Real joy hunts you down, like a safari, taking aim at the moment you least expect… like the time your parents told you,

“We’re so proud of you!” for a decision you made, a sacrifice you gave, or an achievement you always wanted.

Joy is never going to come by working those extra four hours when you could have been at your child’s school play or playing a round of golf when you should have been fulfilling a promise to paint the deck or clean the garage.

Joy acts as the satisfaction that you did the right thing.

Joy isn’t bought with dollars…it arrives in the delivery room, shows up as they walk across the stage at commencement, and streams down your face when they make partner in their law firm.

Real joy is a harlequin…it masquerades as one thing while really being the other. It wears tears when it is actually happy. Joy falls like the rain, coming down one second in sheets and the next, showing up after a long drought. Real joy refreshes the heart with the promise…” you won’t be left in a dry and weary land.”

And the rainbow appears.

You cannot go looking for that kind of joy. You don’t choose IT

IT chooses you, and it chooses WHEN.

Joy is the relief you feel when justice comes.

When the unknown wrongs have been made right. Joy opens the prison door for you…it is the sun that shines on your face as you walk out free. It is the change of clothes from your prison garb.

You remember that day…don’t you?

Those brief bursts of joy couldn’t happen all the time. They would, as Brown says, “be unbearable.”

Instead, joy comes sporadically, in doses…like good medicine. And in order to be completely healed from the terminal illness of dreary lifelessness…we must happily take our medicine when it is given…

-or suffer the effects of an existence, deceived into thinking that entertainment was all there was, and miss living altogether.

Posted on Leave a comment

Mercy is a Sword…

I had just turned left onto Concord Road off of Nolensville Pike when; from a distance, I saw the car pulled over on the shoulder of the road. I was late for work because, of course, I had made what I call a “drive-thru” cup of coffee, meaning a travel cup filled with coffee from my home coffee pot. For those who don’t know, “Drive-Thru” coffee is one of the staples of balanced spiritual people. Some of the other staples include pop tarts, chicken and biscuits, and large quantities of chocolate milk. These along with fried bacon and donuts are essential to make one wise. I mention this just in case anyone was wondering what contributes to my acute spiritual acumen.

Sipping on my very hot coffee with cream and enough sugar to stunt the growth of anything good in my body I, of course, rubberneck (the art of slowing down to stick one’s nose in the business of anyone unfortunate enough to be pulled over on the side of the road, yet making sure you don’t inconvenience yourself by stopping to help), to see what misfortune had befallen the motorist.I was in luck! I was able to see that the car evidently had a flat tire. Thinking to myself “what a pity” all the while thanking God it wasn’t me, I consoled myself with the thought, “oh…that person is close to all kinds of businesses or gas stations…they’ll get the help they need.”

I patted myself on the back for slowing down to show I cared, then drove on down the road. The drone of my tires against the concrete roadway and the music streaming through my truck speakers were not quite enough to drown out the inner voice trying to tell me to stop, turn around and go help. In my defense, my right hand turned up the music as Timothy Schmitt of the Eagles sang, “I Can’t Tell You Why” and I sang louder too. Reaching for my perfectly balanced coffee, I tried lifting it by the lid, and the lid came off…coffee spilling all over my spiritually balanced front carpeting and partially ruining my chicken and biscuits.

Praise did not emanate from my pie hole. I was ticked off that I had done something so stupid and just as I had pulled over to sop up the creamy, sugary mess, out my driver’s side window I saw people rubbernecking ME! That’s when the inner donut voice said, “How’s that feel?” “How does it feel to need help and people just pass by?”

Rebuking Satan and continuing to clean my carpet, I had to get out of my nice comfortable truck cab to walk over to the other side of my truck to get some shop towels out of my back seat to finish cleaning up the mess. Again, out of the corner of my eye, I saw people slowing down to look at my misfortune, only to gun it when I made eye contact. I realized at that moment that; as a stranded driver, looking at someone on the side of the road and saying ‘Bummer” did not help them at all. In fact, It was at that exact moment that I wouldn’t have given a rip about how good someone prayed for me if i had really needed some help…and then, I remembered the person with the flat tire.

“No,” I said out loud. “I am not the archangel of roadside repair…life happens and that sometimes stinks!” I said to no one sitting there. This soliloquy happened in three seconds. I busily wadded up the soaked paper towels and threw them in my truck bed under some cardboard so they wouldn’t fly away. Getting back into the driver’s seat, I looked into the rear-view mirror to make sure no one was nearby when I pulled back into the road. As I looked, I realized that all of the spilling and cleaning and inner voice resisting had taken place only about 50 yards past the person with the flat tire.

I sat looking at that car in my rear-view mirror for almost a minute. This was a pivotal moment. Did you know that dread almost always precedes me moving in obedience? Yes, DREAD. It’s because serving others is not convenient and not a natural impulse. Self-sacrifice …crawling up on the altar and willingly laying down our lives… quite simply sucks. There, I said it. Having mercy has to cost you something and oh, how my flesh hates it. The greater the mercy, the higher the value of it impacting a life. Believe it or not, I NEVER considered at that moment whether this would make a good story! I usually try running from stories far more than I ever live them!

My eyelids closed and then I looked forlornly at my empty silver “Drive-Thru” coffee cup sitting there from my formerly favorite big box store. I then remembered something I wrote last summer. “Inconvenience is one of God’s greatest servants.” This means to me that nine out of ten times whenever I have to do something that requires self-sacrifice it is usually God’s Spirit saying, “What are you going to do?” I then have a choice.

Going against the direction of traffic, I reluctantly backed up closer to the car with the flat tire. Again looking in the rear-view mirror and making sure it was safe to get out of my truck, I opened the door and walked toward the person sitting in the car.

I waved and stood back so they would know I was safe and shouted, “Are you okay?” The guy in the car rolled down his window and said, “Yeah I’m good!” I was relieved…”Hey, I said to my self, he’s good…I can leave!”My natural inclination would have been to say, “Okay man…just checking!” My conscience assuaged, I could now walk away with confidence knowing I had listened and obeyed.

Only I didn’t say “Okay man…just checking!” No. Instead of escaping, my mouth opened again…against my will. “You have a jack? Is someone on their way?” The guy looked miffed. “No, but I don’t need your help” he yelled back. I scrunched my face into that “What do you mean?” look and walked closer to his window. Did I hear him correctly? I asked him, “Did you say no you don’t have a jack and no one is coming?” “he nodded to the affirmative. He didn’t have his phone in his hand so I wondered what I should do. Not knowing where my jack was located on my truck, (it’s under the back seat I discovered), I again walked closer and asked, “What are you going to do?”

He scowled at me. “I said I don’t need your help!” he said; this time forcefully. I shook my head to indicate I understood. I then realized, that he DID have a spare and, that he DID have a jack…but he didn’t know how to change his tire! He was about thirty years old. I felt an inner nudge and said, “Hey, I’m all dressed in construction clothes, it doesn’t matter if I get dirty…want me to get your jack and tire out of your trunk?” It looked like he sighed like, “oh man, I don’t need the humiliation of you discovering I don’t know how to change my tire.”

Without waiting for him to answer I said, “Pop your trunk!” and began walking to the rear of his car.The trunk popped open. He then got out of his car and walked back to where I was in order to see what I was doing. “Man, you don’t have to do this…I can figure this out!” he said in an agitated way. I nodded without making eye contact. “I know you can…so I’ll just get it out and set it up and let you do it…that way you don’t get all dirty.”

I then chanced a look at him. His hands were on his hips and he then said, “Oh, THAT’S where the jack is! I tried to make a joke, saying that carmakers tried to hide the jack from car owners and finally got a little chuckle out of him.I set up the jack and his little “donut” tire and set it next to the side of the car. He wanted to save face…I could tell that right away because, in all honesty, he didn’t know how to use, or where to use the jack. I just continued finding the lift point near the rear tire for the jack, placed it under, and began to lift the back of the car.

“Is the emergency brake on?” I asked. He looked at me and said, “Oh, yeah, I guess that’s a good idea.”During all of this, I continued loosening the lug nuts, then lifting the car. He was taking mental notes. Again he said, “you didn’t have to stop…I could have figured this out!” I smiled…and the voice inside said, “Mercy is gentle…be gentle.” “I know you could have”, I said as I removed the flat tire. This was when I realized that being shown mercy, for the lost, is embarrassing and frightening.

For those who live in this world who believe they are the captains of their own souls, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are a threat to them. I continued silently without acknowledging the guy at all. I replaced the flat in his trunk and placed his jack and tire tools in the trunk as well. I wiped my hands on my jeans. I didn’t offer my hand to shake or say, “There you go!” I just began walking back to my truck.

The guy was silent until I was almost to my truck. He then used the last weapon he had in his arsenal. “Hey man, I can pay you…hold on!” I swiveled and shouted, “Stop…wait a minute!” I walked back toward him so he wouldn’t reach into his car to get money. I finally said it out loud.

“Okay, I don’t want your money…just like you didn’t want my help.” That slammed the door on that. He stood looking vulnerable. I said, “Dude, you may not want to hear this, but God saw you on the side of the road this morning and had someone stop to help in order to show you He is There and Real. That is the only reason I stopped…THE ONLY reason I stopped.”

The guy blinked and looked directly at me. “I don’t believe in God,” he said. Unshaken I said, “I know that…that’s why you were shown mercy…God will never stop showing you He cares until you finally give up and acknowledge Him or slam the door forever!” I was surprised by the force with which I said it. I turned around and walked back toward my truck.

Getting back into the cab, I was looking in the rear-view mirror to check the road and to merge back into traffic. My truck smelled like dark roast with cream and sugar. I felt no compunction, no urge to go read him the “Four Spiritual laws” or give him a Bible or give him my email or blogsite. That would have lessened the point.

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are lethal firepower to pride, arrogance and self-sufficiency. They are the assassins of the lie of the enemy that “You are the captain of your own fate.” Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the tangible evidence of Christian morality still alive in the world and they kick pagan philosophy brutally to the curb.

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit is the aroma of a country that the lost do not know. Their presence on the earth is both enticing and heightens their senses to the fact that there is a land they do not know or understand…and it scares them. And that is good. Mercy, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are foreign qualities to this world.

People on the earth who do not know Jesus understand, Patriotism, courage, and forbearance…because these can possibly be conjured up by the law of natural selection and humanism. But Love? Mercy? …These gifts; when demonstrated to this generation, is like those who stood on the sands of Kitty Hawk and watched the first demonstration of the laws of drag and lift overcoming the laws of gravity. Both exhilarating and fearful. It makes them question what ELSE do they not know…what ELSE is there beyond their own mortal experience. God gives a slide show to the inhabitants of the earth on the screen of His people…if they are willing to be inconvenienced.

We belong to a country far away, Whose King is loving and compassionate, and we speak a language that is foreign to the inhabitants of this earth. We are ambassadors of a Sovereign who bids us to crawl upon the altar of sacrifice in order to demonstrate what his Kingdom is all about. Take up your cross…show the passport of your citizenship to that faraway Kingdom and show the earth that Jesus is still looking for them…Still looking.

Posted on 1 Comment

Lunch Box Messages…

I remember the first day of school. It was a tiny classroom in a little parochial school in my little hometown of Columbus, Indiana. I remember the first song I learned at 6 years old.

“God is love, and he who abides in love, abides in God, and God in Him”

That is a different narrative than most children will have about their first day of school I think. Back in the sixties, growing up Catholic was a lot different than it is today. Yes, I mean it was much more God centered. In fact, I credit the Catholics for planting the seed of love for God in my heart.

As far back as fifth grade, I remember a priest visited our classroom with a filmstrip, (See antiques and ancient machines for the meaning of “filmstrip”) with background music of The Fifth Dimension’s song, “Up, Up and Away” playing telling about a group of people going to far away countries sharing the gospel with them. They were called Trinity Missions. On that day, in my fifth grade heart, I remember saying to myself, “That’s it! I’m going to become a priest and become a Trinity Missionary!”

Then there was a young priest whose name I forget, who came to our religion class in sixth grade trying to tell us about this thing called “Christian Music” that he listened to. He brought a record, (see vinyl record to understand on “Bing” to understand what a vinyl record is) and while it played he furiously scribbled the words on the blackboard, (See oldtime methods for teaching for “Blackboards). I can remember to this day how unique it was that someone had written a song and it wasn’t a hymn or a Catholic song.

“Sunday morning, very bright I read your book by colored light

That came in through the pretty window pictures.

I visited some houses where they said that you were living,

And they spoke a lot about you and they talked about you giving,

They passed around a basket with some envelopes

I just had time to write a note,

But all it said was, “I believe in you.” Hymn by Songwriters: James Mason / Karen Gold / Noel Paul Stookey

Hymn lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

This was a song performed by a modern folk group Peter, Paul and Mary and it so impressed me that I got something in my throat and my eyes began to well up with tears and I didn’t know why. I quickly tried to stifle the feeling and to keep my eyes from watering but there in that room in that early bud of my life, God reached into a classroom and stamped his name on my heart and staked His claim for this real estate.

This narrative is stuff and nonsense to anyone who really understands “grown up” eschatology. (See “speculative arguments among “learned” Christians about what God says about the end days”.) Of course, God wouldn’t speak to a little Catholic boy. How much blasphemy is that!  Fact is, God has been after me ever since I was in the womb and on good days and bad days, He is still using any method to get my attention and He is doing the same thing with you.

Have you ever heard that special song that plays at the perfect time, maybe when you are sad, or when you needed to hear it, and it lifts you up and you say to yourself, “Wow, what a coincidence! I really didn’t know what I needed and that song played at the perfect time!”  How about when you hear someone speak and you feel inspired and begin to tear up and  you say, “Man, that moved me!” Those “Aha” moments are exactly what those early memories did in me.

As I was placing price tags on merchandise at my favorite Big Box store yesterday, I was surprised when something came to my mind and all I can say is I literally felt the presence of God down on that floor with me while I was peeling stickers. He got right down with me, and made me to remember how He had gone to so many lengths to show me His love, to show me who He is and what He thinks of me.

Again, tears flowed on that cement floor in this hardware store in Brentwood Tennessee. I am not the most holy person. Not at all. I cuss sometimes when I hit my finger, I get impatient when the fast food line doesn’t move fast enough and I get tired of endless political chatter on television. But that doesn’t stop the Lord. He just insists on showing this former Catholic boy filmstrips in my mind about how He has clothed and fed and housed me for 62 years and I just don’t understand why He would waste so much time on a mediocre believer like me!

In church on Sunday, my pal Mike Spencer; a bass player who doesn’t even live here in Tennessee says during worship he tears up and it so touched me because that happens to me all the time. I think something inside of us as humans feels the atmosphere of heaven at times and it so moves us that we long for the completion of it. We long to enter fully into God’s presence. It reminds me of the words of a different Catholic song I learned as a child,

“I saw raindrops on my window,

Joy is like the rain.

Laughter runs across my pain,

Slips away and comes again,

Joy is like the rain.”

Sometimes, I have to admit the pain of separation from God is deeper than that of a child who is stolen away from his mother at birth but carries with him a sense of loss that he can’t name. I know what that is like. We have been stolen from our mother…all of us, and carried into an evil country. But somehow, someway, she continues to send us secret messages in our lunchboxes that say, “I’m here, and I’m watching you…I love you…here’s a special song for you today…here is your favorite sandwich.” We look around but we can’t see her, but she sees us. We feel a special connection and we don’t know why.

That is what it is like for God. He is sending you signals secretly into this world so you will know you are not alone. He will bring to you; through a friend, your favorite ice cream, or make you your favorite meal, JUST FOR YOU, as you go through your day. God loves to send you covert messages that only you will enjoy. His joy is like the rain…it falls and waters your life, and then, it’s gone, only to fall again on another day. Joy is like the rain. And while this little foolish blog may not mean much to you today, it is proof that the reason God has given me a good memory is to recall all of his lunchbox messages over the years that I have tucked away for that day, when; I finally see Him…like my mom coming for me in our family car, to reveal to me for the first time her lovely face and to say, “Here I am!!!” On that day I get to hug her for the first time and thank her for all of the wonderful lunchbox messages.

I love lunch box messages.

Posted on Leave a comment

Searching for family outside the garden…

I love the idea of a kindred spirit. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book, Anne of Green Gables was the first time I had ever read this phrase and it immediately struck a chord inside of me. I am convinced that what each of us feel inside is unique only to ourselves, is actually shared by hundreds, thousands and millions of others across the world. I know this because of one distinct truth.

Whether or not you believe it; we share a common ancestry through our first parents Adam and Eve, and we are family. This human condition we hold in common, binds us together as the largest communal family in the universe. It is because of this familial connection that; when one of us is down or worried or filled with hope, others of us can sense it. It isn’t just a human condition, it is the spiritual tie that binds us together.

This is why yesterday, while taking quite a bit of time to answer the questions of a young couple about how to tile their entire house, I got a strong handshake from the young man and a short hug and kiss on the cheek from the young wife. In that moment they were not my customers…I was helping two of my kids to tile their house by giving them the benefit of my experience and knowledge. I was their old dad, helping them out.

In fact throughout the days that I am working, I find myself listening more closely, and caring more about their projects than I used to do as a young man. Later in the afternoon, a man approaches me about how to install blinds, a lady and her elderly husband ask about the best flooring for a kitchen and it’s when I begin to ask questions that they hadn’t thought about and come up with solutions that will fit into their budget, people seem to come alive.

I know it’s an old and tired saying, but people don’t care how much you know…..until they know how much you care. When they see in your eyes that you are taking time with them and that you don’t think that people are an interruption in your day, it is then; that people will listen to whatever you say and take it to heart.

Yesterday there was a couple, not much older than 22 or 23 years old walking and trying to find the aisle for air filters. I saw the lost looks on their faces and since they were walking in my direction, I simply asked, “Okay you guys”, (that is a Northern idiom, meaning…Okay you guys), “what are  you looking for?” the guy looked at me and kind of sheepishly asked, “Where are the things that you put in front of your furnace that catches all the dust and lint and stuff?” I smiled and genuinely tried not to laugh, but I was unsuccessful. “You mean air filters for your furnace?” A big smile popped onto his face…”Yes, I guess that IS what they are…air filters!” Instead of pointing to the aisle, I began to walk them down to the right area. “What size are you looking for?” I asked. “The young woman looked at me and asked, “Size…you mean there are different sizes?”

We arrived at the correct aisle and when they saw the hundreds of filters she laughed out loud and said, “Well, okay, yes there are different sizes!” We all three laughed and I asked if there was anyone at their home to go and snap a picture of the filter in their furnace and she frowned…as did he. “No, but we don’t live far away…can we go back really quick to see and come back?” I told them of course, but then the young man said, “but…well, when we come back, a …” his young wife finished his sentence, “Will you be able to help us again?” I can’t tell you why…but the feeling of being needed flooded my soul with thankfulness and I nodded yes with a big lump in my throat. They left quickly and I headed back over to the flooring department where a woman stood in the tile aisle looking at a big stack of tile.

I never just say “May I help you..” which I abandoned years ago because, if I work somewhere, I had better be able to help them! So I said, “Hi…what is your project?” the lady looked at me with big eyes that said, “Oh thank God…someone is here!” She grabbed my arm and said, “Please, tell me what to do!…I am doing something called, “flipping a house” and I was told by my husband to go and find some tile!” I’m not a judge…okay? I don’t want to make sweeping judgments against people because I don’t like being judged myself, so I refrain from asking myself judgmental questions like…(tongue in cheek…) “where is her husband if he is flipping this house and why did he send her here without explaining what to look for and “… I stopped myself and just laughed and said, “This is gonna be so easy your husband is going to feel ashamed he doesn’t know as much about tile as you do when we are finished!”

For the next 15 minutes, I asked what size were the rooms, and to my surprise she had a copy of the blueprints of the house on her phone. We began to design every room in that house, right down to the color of thinset and g rout. We built her shower and she was furiously taking notes and asking the difference between modified thinset and regular and large format tile thinset. She asked how to grout and I showed her how to hold the float. Just as that moment up walked the young couple who had gone in search of their air filter size.

“Hi Mr. Doug…we’re back!” (I get called Mr. Doug because my name appears in big bold letters on the front of my apron.) I was almost finished with the lady “flipping” her house, but she immediately grabbed my right arm and said, “HE’S MINE!” The young man and woman grabbed my left arm and said, “NO HE ISN’T, HE’S OURS…WE FOUND HIM FIRST!” At this point I understood what a wishbone must feel like when two people are tugging at it from both sides…I was gonna get broken! I laughed but neither of them did. So I said, “Okay…ma’am, I DID tell them I would help them when they came back, but it is just for an air filter!” The house flipping woman said, that’s fine, but I am walking down with you so that afterward we can come back and finish.

Down the main aisle we walked, the house flipping woman holding my right arm and the young couple holding my left. I had employees of my favorite big box store looking at me, thinking they were trying to help me walk! One even came up to me and said, “Doug, are  you okay?!” with genuine concern. The young  couple said, “Oh no, we are making sure Mr. Doug helps us and we are not going to let him go until he does! The house flipper nodded in the affirmative as well. The employee laughed and told them, “Other people work here you know… we can all help you!”

That’s when my house flipping friend said words that warmed my heart. “This isn’t an employee…this is our friend!” The young woman said, “He’s family!” With all of the fuss I made the other day in missing my family during the  holidays, I must confess that at that moment, my family was right there by my side. The young couple saw me as a dad, the house flipper as a friend and it was cemented into my heart when after picking out the correct filter, the young couple looked at me and asked, “Mr. Doug, if you don’t have family here in town, we would love for you to spend Thanksgiving with us!” I must tell you that a tear came to my eye at that  moment and I couldn’t speak. I am such a fricken BABY!

House flipper looked at me and said, “Oh, I like that.. Mr. Doug…is that your name?” I nodded and she said, “I know my husband’s mother is coming from out of town, but he would probably love it if he could talk house renovation with you at the Thanksgiving table!”

I smiled and gained my composure and said, “It is so kind of you both but my wife and I are having a couple of friends over this year…” the young man said, “Well, you sure have helped us…” I got the hug from his wife and he shook my hand and said if we didn’t have plans for dessert, they gave me their written address then they left, waving as they walked away. The house flipping woman finally got all of her questions answered and asked for my last name. I gave it to her and she then packed up her notes and pens and blueprints and off she went into the frigid air.

As I returned to the desk in the flooring department, I took a seat to catch up on follow up with other flooring clients on the computer. At that moment I had a manager on duty come over and said, “Okay…where are they?” I answered , “Where are what?’ He smiled and said, “the  drugs you gave to those customers who just came over and bragged on you?” I blinked and  said, “People are nice…aren’t they?”

A long time ago, in a garden far, far away, we all belonged to an unbroken family who enjoyed daily friendship and endless love with one another and our creator. But like the song says,

“In the land of God’s first heartache
When our line of sin began
And the eyes of man were opened
To the evil there at hand
The creator heard the footsteps
But He did not see the man
And God called out for an answer
But He turned away and ran

An attempt in desperation
To be hid from holy eyes
Was to fashion out a garment
That could hide him in disguise
But the Father bled compassion
And with a fast forgiving hand,
Took the life of one yet blameless
And made a covering for the man.

On a hill outside Jerusalem
Where the sin had took its toll
Hung the life of one as blameless
As that garden beast of old,
And He bled with God’s compassion
For the evil man had done;
And the heart that cried “Forgive them!”
Was the heart of God’s own son.”
The broken heart of God’s own son.

I offer to you my friends that we do not recognize each other as brothers and sisters who are far from our garden home because many are still hiding and trying to cover themselves with the leaves of their own making.  Some are hurt and others…angry. But, every once in a while, we catch of glimpse of one of our family members and they catch a glimpse of us. For a moment our hearts jump in our chests that we belong to each other…but then, we drift apart again as strangers just like my three friends yesterday.

It’s Thanksgiving season. And our brothers and our sisters are all around us. Some have been found by the Savior, and others refuse to come into the banquet. Whatever we do, let’s not give up showing bits of love, and random kindness to our lost family so that; in hope, we will all sit down around the same table holding hands reunited, in a  new and living garden from which we will never be cast away again!