“love is a violent flame not to be ignored” -AE

24 Dec

I heard the most horrible story the other day. I am hesitant to write it here because it is so sad, but I want to convey the reality of this painful situation… (or is it the painful situation that is reality?) I am currently working at an insurance company, and a lady called first thing in the morning – she was distraught, asking about accidental death coverage for her mother. She went on to explain that her mom passed away earlier in the week. Her mother had dementia and wandered out of her sisters house somewhere up north where she was staying, while they thought she was sleeping. When they realized she wasn’t there and couldn’t find her, they called the police. The police searched the house and one of them went to the back of the house where they heard someone gasping for air. There was a freezing cold creek behind the house that she had fallen into. They rushed her to the hospital, but it was too late and because she had been in the creek for a couple hours, she froze to death. The lady on the phone began to cry as she said the words. My heart was so so broken for her. There was so much hurt and sadness on the other end of that phone line.

Its crazy how this time of year, the holiday season, is supposed to be so joyful and full of hope, and yet there are people all around who are in tremendous pain. About a month ago I was out watching some friends play football for an annual Turkey Bowl game they always participate in around Thanksgiving time. I sat next to a lady who was watching her son play. We small-talked for a while, and I asked about her Thanksgiving plans and her family. When I asked if she had any more kids who would be home for the holiday, she choked up. She told me through held-back tears and a quivering voice that she used to have 2 sons, but one was killed in a car accident 1 year ago to the day, right before Thanksgiving on his way home from college. She had taken the day off from work because she knew she wouldn’t be in the right mind-set, and came to watch her other son play football and spend time with him. My heart sank. Brokenness and pain was sitting right next to me.

Those stories ruined me. Each time for the rest of the day and the days thereafter, I could think of nothing else. Their sorrow left an ache in my heart, and the soreness would not go away. I wanted to do something, to say something, to somehow make things better, but what could I do? What could anyone really do?

In darkness like that, there is only one source of Light. I honestly don’t know how people get through life without Jesus. He is my rock, my comforter in times of sorrow, my support, my healer, my helper, my salvation, and so much more. What is the meaning of life without Him? What is LIFE without Him?

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

Hearing those stories prompts me to put my life back in perspective, remembering what and who is truly important and forgetting the rest. Their hurt reminds me to be kind to those around me, strangers or not, and constantly be showing and sharing His love in whichever ways I can. The holidays will never be the same for these ladies who have lost so much, as well as so many others with similar heart-aching stories. A little kindness can go a long way. Even a hug can go a long way. Even a listening ear and a caring heart can go a long way!

Don’t be so consumed in the holiday season that you walk all over those around you. In our American consumer-driven world, it is so easy to get caught up in what we need to get done, and who we need to buy gifts for, and who we are going to fight for the last Tickle-Me-Elmo doll (flashback!). Of course I am included in this, and just as guilty for making this season all about me and not about sharing the Love.

And so, with a heavy heart I challenge you (and me) to take a good look around. Be aware of those who are hurting, and extend your (fill-in-the-blank) in compassion and love. Make a positive difference in the life of someone who could use a little support. Thank your friends and family who have been that support for you.

Live your life for someone else for a change.  This is the message of Christmas.

Love is a powerful thing. Share it with someone.

“Love is a violent flame not to be ignored” – Andrew Ehrenzeller (musician)

So love, and do not stop.

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