I dread having blood drawn. My veins instinctively know to roll out of the way when there is something sharp headed their way.
If punctured, they batten down the hatches and squeeze hard to keep the doors closed. They seem to scream, “There will be no blood lost on our watch!”
It’s actually very touching that they so fervently protect me in this way. However, lab techs do not share the appreciation.
Some get a gleam in their eye and I can almost sense they are saying, “Game on!”
They attack with equal determination to find a “good vein.” Poking, prodding, and worst of all, taking their needle and going exploring.
I’ve had more than one squeal with delight as they say, “I’ve got it!” Then within seconds, they say, “It blew.”
Yep, once invaded, my ever creative circulatory system knows when to relinquish a mini-inch to save further robbery of its blood supply.
And so more determined invaders simply sigh deeply, reach for another weapon and say, “Let me look at your other arm.”
I do have a limit. Three attempts and they are out. I start considering just how much I need to sacrifice for any assessment of what is in my blood.
But once when I had blood drawn, I did not feel anything other than a warm hand on my arm.
A nice lady named Kari talked to me. She looked at me, not just my arm. She connected with me as a person, not just a task to check off in her day.
Her touch was gentle. In spite of all the previous bad experiences, I trusted her. We connected. Apparently my veins decided she was trustworthy too. They willingly relinquished some of their precious stores of blood.
When I asked her how she did it, she smiled and said, “I do it with love.”
As I thought about that precious gift of that day, I had a rush of memories of all the ways I have been touched in my life.
Not all were pleasant.
I have been hit in anger.
I have been touched in lust.
I have been handled as a part of invasive procedures.
I have been touched by health care workers, for whom I was just a task.
But I have also been touched in love. When I reflect, those memories are much stronger than the negative ones.
I remember my parents’ loving touch.
I think of the many loving touches my husband and I have shared.
I think of the joy of my baby’s first touch and how I enjoy the hugs of the young woman she has become.
I think of the touch of our grandson and how he explores my face in wonder.
I think of the hand holding and hugs of friends and family.
I think of the nuzzling touches of pets.
And I think of the touch of Jesus, The One Who reached out and healed with a touch, The One Who let others touch Him. He always touched in Love.
He still does.
Once He touched me through a woman named Kari. That night there was not even a physical sign on my skin. But I knew the spot where she touched me in love. She touched my heart.
The world would be a better place if we all strove to touch each other in The Love of Jesus.
And in this time, it may or may not be a physical touch. But there are always ways to touch in The Spirit.
Take a few moments and remember the times you have been touched in love. Thank God. Ask Him Who He would like you to touch in His Love.
What if at the end of our physical life on earth, there was only a one question final exam?
What if God reviewed our life and asked “How well did you love My Creations?”
This is what Jesus said in answer to a questioning student.
“Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and the most important commandment.
The second most important commandment is like it: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.”
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
I have always been a planner, an organizer, a structured person who limited any risk taking ventures.
I have fretted my way through unsettling times by considering all the possible outcomes and how I would handle any one of them.
And yet I find that the most joyous times have been the unplanned, spontaneous moments when I was swept off my feet by Life. Times when I was overtaken with delight. Times when the world around me burst into singing and I was carried along in its harmony.
And then there have been the times of Joy after the pain, certainty after the doubt, restoration after the disaster.
Sometimes we are brave and choose to put one toe in the waves to try it out. But sometimes God provides circumstances that force us to leave our comfort zone.
The baby is pushed out into the world. The chick escapes the egg. The caterpillar emerges from the cocoon as a butterfly. Leaving the place that once was a comfort zone brings new life.
Jesus told His Disciples to cast out into the deep. I wonder what’s out there …
We have lots of mirrors in our house. We put mirrors every place I thought there should be a window.
Being a bit claustrophobic, I never miss an opportunity to catch the reflection of the outside world.
This interesting feature of our house is unnerving to some, because they look not at the outside world, but at their own reflection.
It is amusing to see our guests straightening their clothes or pushing hair back into place.
Our 15 month old grandson, Gideon, loves the mirrors. Today I watched, as he ran back and forth on the sofa, looking at himself in three different mirrors.
He was absolutely delighted to find three other boys, who welcomed him, smiled at him, laughed with him, and even talked back to him.
Gideon does not yet know the boy in the mirror is him. Babies do not make this connection until 18 months or after.
So he is not focused on himself. He simply wants to connect with the “other” boy.
At one point today, he slipped on the couch and fell. He was not hurt. It just scared him momentarily. I hastened to comfort him.
He got back up, looked in the mirror and saw the boy crying. He stopped crying and reached out to the boy. The “other” little boy, of course, reached back.
Gideon then noticed the “other” little boy was also being comforted by someone. He may not have identified that person as his grandmother, but he did process that both he and the “other” little boy were safe.
“They” went back to playing. He again enjoyed the companionship of three boys. And grandma had a wonderful time watching.
Too often we look at the world around us and we see only ourselves. We focus on how to “fix” ourselves or how to make everything look good, to our specifications.
We miss the reflection of God’s Creation, even though it is right there in plain view.
Moreover, we miss seeing everyone else as Creations of God, waiting to be welcomed with a smile or pleasant greeting.
And we often miss God, standing right there, enjoying being with us and ready to catch us when we fall and comfort us until we are ready to join the world again.
Who do you see in God’s Mirror of His World? Look again and see His Glory revealed!
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror The Glory of The Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from The Lord, The Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3
There is so much going on in the world right now. The news is coming to us from all sides.
Commentators are no longer limited to communications networks. People who once used social media to post funnies, recipes, encouragement or family pictures are now sparring with each other over various topics.
Stuck in a world of prolonged social isolation, ongoing media updates and way too much time to think, people are being drawn into other ways to ventilate.
Regretfully some have given up social media all together. I miss them. Some who were friends have unfriended each other after expressing different opinions. And some are still at it, commenting in ever increasing hostile tones.
What should we do? Well, here I am, commenting. So I believe we should continue our connections.
I believe we can have radically different views and still be friends. When someone expresses a different opinion to mine, after my initial reaction (sometimes disgust or horror), I try to step back, and try to understand where they are coming from.
I pray that God will wipe the slate clean of bias and show me what He has to say about the issue.
Sometimes God adjusts my thinking, and I come around to the other side.
Sometimes He shows me that some of what was spoken was truth and some was not. He helps me separate out the sheep from the wolves.
And sometimes He affirms that what I believed initially was true, and I need to stand firm in my beliefs.
If we are led to comment, we should use the same principles Jesus used. We should only speak what God tells us to speak when He tells us to speak it.
Here are Jesus’ Words. We should make them our own guidelines.
“Do you not believe that I am in The Father and The Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My Own. Instead, it is The Father dwelling in Me, performing His Works.” John 14:10
“I do exactly what The Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know that I love The Father.” John 14:31
“For I have never spoken on My own initiative or authority, but The Father Himself Who sent Me has given Me a commandment regarding what to say and what to speak.” John 12:49
If we do this, we will find joy for ourselves and give joy to others.
“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply– and how good is a timely word!” Proverbs 15:23