That’s What Love Looks Like

A woman patiently helps her husband guide his walker down the aisle… That’s what love looks like.

 A caregiver is attentively feeding someone with a severe disability… That’s what love looks like.

 A receptionist waves good morning to a lonely old man going to work next door… That’s what love looks like.

 A friend patiently listens to some distress at work and offers to pray… That’s what love looks like.

 A husband with other plans stays home with a sick wife to help and support her… That’s what love looks like.

 A clergyman cries with a parishioner in their emotional pain… That’s what love looks like.

 A male classmate closes a window when someone feels a draft (even though he doesn’t understand why)… That’s what love looks like.

 Someone challenges her friend when she puts herself down… That’s what love looks like.

 Friends support one another when one of them is having a bad day, helping them talk through their difficulty and offering emotional support… That’s what love looks like.

Parents laugh and play with their firstborn child, a daughter with Down Syndrome… That’s what love looks like.

 A fellow immigrant offers to attend a series of classes she doesn’t have to attend to translate for her community… That’s what love looks like.

Co-workers find out one of their own walks a long distance to/from work. They and their managers get that worker his own transportation… That’s what love looks like.

These may not be the most dramatic examples of what love looks like, but there IS one:

 An innocent man is crucified between two thieves. He is Jesus Christ on the cross, and He died in our place for our sins… That’s what love looks like!

 Blog copyright © 2017 by Theresa M. Williams

 

How did it happen so fast?

I can’t believe it’s June already. It seems like it was just January. Time has been getting away from me lately. Would you believe Kevin’s 10th ordination anniversary is this month or that we’ll be celebrating 38 years of marriage later this month? Wow! I’m reminded of the words to a song ‘Longer’ by Dan Fogelberg:  Longer than ther’ve been fishes in the ocean, higher than any bird ever flew, longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens, I’ve been in love with you. Stronger than any mountain cathedral, truer than any tree ever grew, deeper than any forest primeval, I am in love with you.

I’ll bring fire in the winters.’ You’ll send showers in the springs. We’ll fly through the falls and summers with love on our wings. Through the years as the fire starts to mellow, burning lines in the book of our lives. Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow, I’ll be in love with you. I’ll be in love with you. Longer than ther’ve been fishes in the ocean, higher than any bird ever flew, longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens, I’ve been in love with you. I am in love with you. Songwriters: DAN FOGELBERG © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC For non-commercial use only.

The part that really gets me though is where Dan talks about comparing our life to a book, about the binding cracking and the pages yellowing (must be referring to wrinkles). I must say though I don’t believe Kevin’s and my fire has started to ‘mellow.’ Kevin and I think it’s so neat to be married to our best friend. With another couple we know, the wife has told me her husband is her best friend. That’s heartwarming.

Another song we sing at Mass talks about weeping, laughing, sharing joys and sorrows ‘until we see this journey through.’ Certainly we do that daily. Our marriages are sanctuaries (or should be), a place where we can go even if the world crumbles around us. It should be a place where we feel safe and loved. I’m grateful for every day with Kevin. I realize the older we get that someday we’ll leave earth and join the kingdom of God.

It amazes me when I hear older folks state they wish they could go back to their younger years—not me! I really don’t care to repeat my previous years. I figure I’ve earned the right to be right where I’m at. I don’t want to try to have a family, attend college, find a career, you name it. I hope to retire someday, and I look forward to what lies ahead, but I’m not in a great hurry to get there; it’ll come soon enough with all its challenges, effects of growing older, friends or parents dying, and other things. (Some of this has already happened.)

I look forward to growing older with my best friend, my spouse, and I want to take life as it comes and enjoy as much of it as I can, while I can. I’m sure it probably won’t be easy sometimes, but I’m sure going to try anyway! How about you?

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams

Prospero Aῆo Nuevo (Happy New Year)

When we entered the church on Christmas Eve, I wasn’t too surprised to hear our Hispanics singing the Jose Feliciano song entitled Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas). You may have heard it before: It starts off: Feliz Navidad (3 times), prospero aῆo y felicidad (happiness). Then it goes into English for a bit: I want to wish you a Merry Christmas (2 times), I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart. The song sounded so joyful, so full of celebration. It may seem irreverent to sing this in church, but to wish another well ‘from the bottom of my heart’ is a kind and generous gesture worth celebrating.

My wish for you in 2016 is not only a prosperous new year, but one filled with love, joy, peace, faith, trust and hope. May you be led safely through any ‘storms’ that come your way. May you continue to discern God’s purpose and calling in your life. May your friends and family support you when you need it most. God bless!

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams

Our Father who art in Heaven (OF1)

While this first line of the “Our Father” can state the obvious—where else would our heavenly father be?—let’s look at it a bit more closely.

Jesus was a Jewish boy, and so it was natural for Him to call His father Abba. I am told this word would be translated as Daddy. That’s a pretty intimate word. You may have seen or heard the statement “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be my daddy.” I daresay this sentence casts a different light on the words we use. Whether you have a close relationship to your biological father or not, know that your heavenly father wants a closer relationship with you. He wants you to think of Him as Daddy. If that’s a challenge for you, know that you are not alone; you have lots of company! Ask your heavenly father to heal you of any woundedness you feel, any resentment, any hurt you feel towards your earthly father. God wants to take you onto His lap, love you, and make things better. If you already have a good relationship with your heavenly father, thank Him for that gift.

Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams

Boosting our self-image

Okay, so let’s say we have identified this issue of inferiority, poor self-esteem or insecurity. How do we go about boosting or repairing our self-image?
– One way is positive self-talk. We tell ourselves positive things, such as:
– I am a good person.
– I am worthy of God’s love.
– As long as I repent of (be sorry for) my sins/misdeeds, God will take me back despite my many sins. After all, if I had been the only human on earth, He still would have died for me, He loves me that much! He will help me with my struggles.
– God has not abandoned me.

Of course, one pitfall is that we want to avoid reinforcing qualities or things about ourselves that may NOT be true unless we are working towards bettering ourselves in that area. For example, we can’t spell well or every time we try to sing we are off key (out of tune). However, if we are working on an area we may not excel in or be good at (just yet), like being patient or being able to spell well, we can encourage ourselves by stating what we want to be, i.e. “I will be a patient person.” By reiterating positive things, we may actually come to believe it and therefore make it come true for us, but we also have to work at that thing we have trouble with in order for this technique to be effective. Without belief and action, the change we want won’t take place.

Disclaimer: These techniques may not work for everyone who reads this or whoever puts these things into practice. Remember that change takes time. You may need specialized help, but this is one possible way to start.

Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams

Entombment of Unemployment

At one time or another, most of us have suffered the entombment of unemployment. Our reactions can vary from anxiety, betrayal, embarrassment, fear, grief, feeling overwhelmed, poor self-esteem, self-consciousness, vulnerability, and even anger. We long to feel valued, loved, and relevant.

In Romans 5:7-8 (NRSV), Christ assures us that we ARE relevant, valued and loved by Him:

Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

It’s very tempting to lose heart during our search for employment.  But we are assured concerning God’s presence and His plans for us:

Isaiah 41:10 (NRSV)

do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Jeremiah 29:11

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

 

Be of good courage. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, He will raise us up out of the tomb of our unemployment!

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Blog copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams

The Cross, a Sign of Hope?

Just when we can’t seem to take any more bad news–people protesting about this or that, ISIS groups killing people–Good Friday comes.  All of the bad things in our world, the broken promises by politicians, poverty, sin, hate and destruction, is offered up on the cross and defeated. The cross, which seems like a sign of contradiction, becomes our symbol of hope. Sin, death, and Satan will not ultimately win because of the cross. This messed up world is not the end because the victory of Christ’s love triumphs over everything else. The cross is our greatest hope.

I got some artwork from a friend a number of years ago stating that when I asked Jesus how much He loves me, He says “this much,” and then He spread His arms and died for me!

Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams