Twoo Wuv?

image credit: rankopedia.com

Just what does it mean to truly love someone? Many may say its ‘preferring the needs of the other person over yourself’. Being in a new relationship we’re beginning to learn the delicate steps of the dance. “Where do you want to go?” He steps forward.  “I don’t know, what do you like?” I step back. “Which style of music do you prefer?” He turns to the right. “My tastes are eclectic, though lyrics are important, so I like to be able to understand the words.” I follow through the spin.

Inevitably we will stumble.  Someone’s toes will get stepped on, misunderstood cues will lead to us going in different directions.  How do you solve the problem?  Do you give up on the dance and find another partner, or do you come back to center, where it makes sense and begin again – offering grace, each honestly owning up to their mistakes, and then laughing together at the awkwardness.

I read the following in a friend’s Facebook status recently, and have pondered it since:

“Preferring one another is more than yielding your opinion to another. Use your platform to bring honor, dignity, and promotion to others even at the risk of seeing them surpass your influence with those around you”

If I use this as my compass for preferring my significant other, what does that look like?  He offers me networking contacts to help me in my job;  I bring him coffee and sing his praises to his boss.  I get to church early to help him with setting up the sound equipment; he introduces me to a whole new church family and expands my personal territory for ministry opportunities. This all makes sense and can initially seem easy for romantic relationships, but what does it mean outside of that sphere?  How do I truly love and prefer my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. What about the guy on the corner holding the cardboard sign?  What does it look like to really prefer them?

Our society so loudly proclaims “Its all about you.” “Do it your way.” And it is SO easy to fall into the trap, to become self-aware and absorbed into vainglory and personal achievement.  I ask myself, what society do I really belong to?  Is it this culture or the Kingdom of God? “A humble and contrite heart He will not despise.” vs. Look out for numero uno.  “Turn the other cheek.” vs. Stand up for your rights. “Be the servant of all.” vs. Serve yourself.

“Wuv. Twoo wuv.” As Wesley always told Buttercup when she asked for something “As you wish…” even to throwing himself tumbling bottom over top down the hill, we need to learn how to truly love our God, our families, and our friends.  And even more importantly the marginalized, the out cast, and the broken.  When we can offer a hand up instead of pitying handouts and use our influence and platforms to propel them into something greater, I think we will begin to glimpse a measure of what Kingdom living and purpose is really supposed to be, to experiencing true love.

Boston and the not-so-goodness of man

As the sun broke the horizon Sunday morning, I was driving east on I-90 toward the Riverside MBTA station.  I stood on the platform with legging-clad runners, their bright sneakers and pinned numbers a stark contrast to the stained rough concrete.  As we sat next to each other they discussed techniques for training and recovery, their plans for the BIG race the next day.  Wrapped up in my world, I was previously oblivious to the fact that it was marathon weekend.  Quietly I listened to them and compared my plans for the day.  I was going into Boston to volunteer at a convention, to be inside the entire day, talking, smelling, tasting coffee.  Sales and marketing, foamed milk and water pressure.  It was about the fun of combining a little work with something I love.

36 hours my attention would be drawn back to Boston.  Smoke, blasts, shattered glass and buildings.  What is the truth? What happened?  Who do I know that may be affected? Are the people I love safe?  Collectively we were all asking those questions.  There weren’t always good answers.  Lives will now be defined by that instant. Before and after.

Embracing my role as a social media manager to make sure that we put out correct information, and weeded out erroneous stories, I stopped personally processing.  It was business – get the word out, pass on the information, help others make sense, stop the scheduled info and focus on the moment.  Watching Twitter and Facebook feeds, listening to live news reports, my existence was entirely about being online.

Today is different.  The immediacy has passed.  News agencies have been briefed and are more aware of the situation.  Social Media and Community managers have, for the most part, gone on to their regularly scheduled programs, of course adding in the apropos informative links and blog posts regarding the incident.  And I’m stuck.

Downside to being a single, I don’t have anyone at home with whom I can verbally wrestle through an issue.  So dear readers, blurkers, and others it spills out to you.  So many times yesterday I saw memes, tweets, and quotes talking about the ‘good in humanity.’  I have a problem with that.  You see, humankind is not inherently good.  In fact left to our own devices we can be extremely cruel and evil.  Without the redemptive work of faith in our lives, and employing God’s gift of self-control so we can choose to do the right thing, we would be lost.

We ask “How could God let this happen?” while in the same breath we say “I want it my way”.  These thoughts cannot co-exist.  Either we want free will, which includes the choice to do evil, or we want a dictatorship with the Creator calling the shots.  It is not possible to bake the proverbial cake while consuming it.

As a loving God, He allows us to choose.  Being a righteous God, He requires consequences for those choices.  Graciously and mercifully He has provided a way to be excused from the judgement for the choices we make in our moments, but we accept that gift and the parameters that He gives with it – do to others what you would have them do to you; turn the other cheek; make disciples; read the Word and do what it says; love Him above all; live out that love towards those that hate you… (cf Matthew 5-7, 22: 37-39, 28:19-10 NLT)

I will never be able to understand why someone chose to carry out a terrorist attack yesterday.  I applaud the choices of the first responders who chose to run toward danger to save lives.  I grieve with those who must face the repercussions of one person’s actions and now must put lives back together with missing pieces.  And I pray to God that somehow we would all choose to look to Him to gain a measure of peace in the middle of a chaotic world.  To choose to live according to the prescription He has given to live a life that honors Him and serves others.

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New Year… New life

I’ve been silent dear readers.  Why? I’ve been finding my new life.  Truly.  I moved back to North America from Africa in October.  Spent a month in Toronto with family helping with my late grandmother’s estate, then moved into Mom & Dad’s in November to contemplate what my life would look like since the big change in August.  Well, the waiting is over – here are some details of my new life…

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My sunny spot

New Home – a sweet and cozy little one bedroom apartment in a sleepy South-Central Massachusetts hamlet.  I’m trying to find where everything belongs and in the mean-time I’m living with the boxes…

New Job – I’m refocusing my organizational passions in the medium of radio.  I’m the Office Manager for The Q 90.1 FM.  We went on the air in early December 2012, and I came on board in mid-January.  I’m excited about the possibilities of sharing a message of hope in this region.  I still get to use all my knowledge of social media, organization, and meeting and sharing life with people.

New Life – so with a new home and a new job, is this really a new life?  Not exactly.  You see, with all the things that have changed me over the last couple of years, it is now the intention to have a renewed focus on being true to my God-given identity.  What is that?  As I put on my instagram bio “Girl. Jesus-follower. Wanna-be world changer”

You see, we are created by God with a destiny.  Not only that, but we are given the passion to pursue His purpose for us if we will be honest with ourselves and connect with our Creator.  If I’ve learned anything from the grief process, it’s that in the end, it’s not the things (new home) or paycheck (new job) which give merit to our lives, for in reality our physical selves will decay and become dust.

What truly matters is the impact we make on people.  The lives that have influenced us, the hearts we have loved, the souls that we touch as each of us passionately pursue our divine purpose