She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. Proverbs 31:17
What will you notice in others today other than the surface of them, their predicament, their imperfect and even offensive behavior?
Will you consider what’s within?
Will it occur to you that your interaction with others is invitation to ministry, to the wonder of it all, our souls?
Yesterday I woke with the ache of an unpleasant dream. It was early morning and the drift of extra falling asleep led to remembering the news of Saturday.
A woman had been found by her son, unexpectedly she passed away. The dream had me rolled up knees to chest while my friend sat close by letting me cry. Letting me express the regret over not intervening, not being close enough to the sweet elderly woman’s need.
The dream was beneficial. I texted my friend told her I was praying for her because the measure of her grief is greater than mine. My friend had been much closer, like a daughter, like a fighter for this woman’s good, my friend was up close to the survival of this sweet tiny little spitfire survivor of abuse and valiant victor over the bottle despite being homeless woman.
Yes, I had a small part in helping but my friend had one much larger.
Still, both of us were engaged, captivated and humbled by the tenacity of Miss G. because she taught us both to be better, she taught us to keep keeping on.
As tiny as a child she was and on her very best days just as excited over living.
Miss G. was diminutive. If she ever felt diminished or delicate she kept that hidden.
The weak places she buried in the shadowy silence of her soul.
Let us in only a little, me much less than my friend and co-worker, Michelle.
Miss G. saw the wonder of life, love, believing in possible things and she lived, she lived in light of that wonder.
Monday morning now and I’ve switched off the lamplight. I am with God.
He alone knows the sadness of my soul.
Only He knows the benefit of sorrow’s visit.
Sorrow is grief’s measurement.
I allow the rivulet to lay on my cheek, I am thinking of my relationship with Miss G., the petite pulled together woman who fixed her hair to show up to clean the rooms in the emergency department of our hospital.
She was a hard worker, inspired others, was awarded for her attitude.
She came to check on me as I cautiously turned to see her, my condition still shaky, the vertigo and its nausea.
I don’t recall what she said, her look was not one of pity, no it was all her, her philosophy.
Never missing a chance to promote strength over pity.
Stay strong, don’t fall and don’t ever let yourself believe that God is not able.
She left me with this, this instruction as she looked long and directly before leaving.
This was not a verbal exchange. It was her heart seeing mine, this was her ministering to my soul.
So, I allow the tears to fall and let them seep below my skin, to dry on their own. I consider them a gift, drops on my cheeks like the resting rain on the last rosebud.
If I could I’d leave them much longer, evidence of love.
I thought of this sweet woman and of others.
Thought of the work I did before.
Then gave myself permission to see it as it had always been, ministry.
The work of overseeing a program that welcomed a woman in because she was without a home.
That’s not social or administrative or not for profit outcomes based work.
No, not at all.
This is and was ministry of the soul. I see now, clearly.
The encounters, the obstacles, the run ins with not ready for change people.
This was not hard work.
No it was soft, softening of all of our souls.
Me and they, all of us souls.
“Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
The wonder of it all!
God intersecting our lives with others, all of us with burdens undeniable or hidden.
May I never lose my wonder!
There’s a tiny brick house I pass twice a day on the way to Elizabeth and back home.
A tiny porch bordered by mounds of garbage is lit by a bulb. Often the front door is open and a woman sits in a plastic chair that faces sideways, never turned towards the road, the passing cars, people.
I long to know her story.
I’ve decided it’s enough to simply see her as a soul.
To pray for a need not mine to know.
My friend’s grief over Miss G. is much more than my own. I texted her after my Sunday dream.
This morning I walked outside and I thought of how much you loved Miss G. how much she loved you. I know you are grieving. Miss G. is celebrating in heaven and she was greeted with “Well done thou good and faithful servant!” and I just see her grinning at Jesus and saying…”oh but you just wait til you meet Michelle!” You loved her well, God saw it all. Love you. Praises today, only praises.
What souls are yours to see?
Give yourself permission to go deeper than passing interaction or fulfilling vocation or expectation.
The soul is secret and yet so open.
Let your grace toward someone do unrequited things today.
Be satisfied beyond anything that you noticed and your work became ministry, became the work of seeing souls.
See them more clearly, love when opportunity comes.
Rest In Peace, Miss G. Thank you for ministering to my soul, the souls of so many others.
I will remember you well.
“Fill us with wonder
May we never lose our wonder
May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child…”