Greater Than Ourselves

Sometimes, you just know everything is going to be okay.

Your college age daughter may dump her clothes by the door, but she is home for the holidays. A clean house is not important.

You willingly spend almost six hours in the car to attend the funeral of your friend’s dad because you know she needs you and there is no other place you want to be at that moment but there supporting her.

God keeps reminding me of the joy in the everyday stuff of life. Life is not easy. It’s messy. It’s sad. It’s just plain tough at times. 

Working with elders has taught me an important life lesson at a young age. The things that matter in life are the meaningful relationships we create along our journey. Every day, we have the opportunity to touch lives through our words, actions, and love. 

As I sat in the funeral today, I felt part of something greater than myself. I witnessed the impact one man had on multiple lives. For many reasons, I am thankful God has blessed me with the joy of this friendship and the opportunity to know this family. Only God could have allowed our paths to intersect.

In the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 instructs us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Sometimes, we get so caught up in trying to figure out God’s will for our lives. I think it is spelled out pretty clearly in those verses.

Rejoice…pray…give thanks…in all circumstances, not some but all.

What if we truly lived by those words? We aren’t perfect people, but we can love other imperfect people. 

My friend is teaching me this very thing…love others well. Her dad’s life and love for others over his years was so evident today.

As I reflect on our drive home, these thoughts come to mind.

1. Life is hard but filled with meaningful life lessons if we are open to the everyday moments.

2. People need us. We need people. Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort. Be kind. Listen more than talking.

3. Rejoice…look for the everyday blessings. They are there.

4. Pray about everything.

5. Thank God. He is working even when we can’t see it.

6. When we trust God with our lives, He will bless us.

I felt it today…the love of others, the love of God. 

Life is greater than ourselves.

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Connecting with Others

I have come to believe, truly believe, that life is about relationships. It’s not about stuff.

People, our connections with others are everything. Relationships enrich our lives.

I witness this daily in long term care…the aged residents…the relationships they have with their families, friends, church, neighbors and the relationships they bridge with other residents….mean everything…their “stuff” no longer matters so much.

I witnessed this powerfully as I was in awe at all the people who came to my daughter ‘s graduation party last week… lives interconnected…. family and friends and teachers and neighbors and church friends….there to live and support her, us.

I feel the connection as I talk with my neighbor who willingly helps out when we need someone to pick our son up from school.

I realize the importance in time it takes to invest in relationship forming as I witness progress with clients and their families.

As I reflect on the value of relationships in my life, some things stand out as important….

1. Keep God as the number one in your life.
2. Talk less, listen more.
3. Eye contact is powerful.
4. Multi tasking while talking with someone says you are not really invested in the conversation.
5. Seek those who have common interests but don’t be afraid to learn and seek understanding from those different from you.
7. Did I mention talk less, listen more?
8. Apologizing to someone goes a long way.
9. Empathy and compassion speak volumes.
10. Be slow to respond when upset. Breathe.
11. Pray for His guidance in every interaction you have with the people you encounter.

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Take a moment and thank Him for the relationships He has blessed you with, and seek His guidance and help with any relationships you are struggling with.

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