In her book “Come Be My Light”, Mother Teresa shocked the world with the revelation of her deep interior darkness. During this time, God used her radiant smile to shine one of the brightest lights of modern times on countless people all over the world. This is what came into my mind today when a positive and faith filled friend sent out a message this morning which gave me pause. I want to share part of it with you.
Everyone will go through some hard times at some point. Life isn’t easy. Just something to think about…Did you know the people that are the strongest are usually the most sensitive? Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated? Did you know the ones who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who need it the most? Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile and see how much pain they may be in. To all my friends who are going through some issues right now–Let’s start an intention avalanche.
The sentiment expressed here is a bit sad but truly lovely at the same time. I read it as a call to pray for all of those around us, especially those who smile at us radiantly. Every person—family member, neighbor, colleague– in our path was put there by our all-knowing and loving God. We have to care enough to pray for them, love them, even though they may not ask.
The note above was sent by a sparkly and positive person– a mom– that I regularly encounter. I am ashamed to say that I cannot recall having before offered a single prayer for her. You see, she seems to be doing just great, and she never asked. That’s not okay. A friend shouldn’t have to look miserable or advertise their illness or struggle in order to be “prayer worthy”.
“Love one another deeply, from the heart.” –1 Peter 1:22
Admittedly, I get a fair number of prayer requests. I consider this a great honor and privilege, and I also think it’s just the influence of my big personality. I make “friends” with bank tellers and bag boys and small talk with coaches and kindergarteners. Just yesterday, for example, I found myself searching for prune juice at O’Malias with a cute old guy who was a bit turned around and couldn’t find the juice aisle. I thought I knew where everything was at that store, in fact, until tested on the prune juice. But, my new bff, Stanley, and I did find it! The “never met a stranger” gene is a gift inherited from my Dad. Is this a blessing, or a curse? Ha?!
This kind of giftedness, however, should not be mistaken with the kind of faithful friendship that is possible when we open our lives and hearts up to others. We have to be willing to take the risk of vulnerability when we lay out the welcome mat to our hearts. This is why I work hard to honor all the prayer requests, even if it means that I offer a single “Glory Be” on my busiest days for a particular intention. Someone has usually risked revealing fear or genuine interior desire when they ask for prayer, after all.
However, today’s message made me realize, that’s not going to cut it.
“Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of getting out of one’s self and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.” — Thomas Hughes
When we look up from our own lives to notice those around us, we have the opportunity to multiply joy or divide grief. We have to understand silence sometimes speaks loudly too.
It used to be when I heard about this idea of “prayer without ceasing” that I pictured pious little nuns with bloody knees. It didn’t make the idea of being near God all day long sound like anything but a crummy idea.
Here’s what I think about prayer now. Prayer is speaking to God in the quiet of our hearts, but it is also sneaking in the back door to do the dishes of the neighbor who hasn’t asked but needs the help. It’s keeping your girlfriend’s kiddo, it’s sending a birthday card, a sunny text message to a teenager, making a breakfast date, or popping in to grab a hug. These things take time, it’s true. That too is a prayer though, and it honors God in a way that is possible for minivan moms like me.
“Whoever refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” –-Prov 11:25
Today, to thank God for the special people in my life, I am going to pray by action. I choose my sparkly friend who today selected a unique way to say “help me.” I am honoring her by letting her know how I see Jesus through her, that I am thinking about her, and that I am thankful for the friendship. I hope she will feel Jesus hugging her with my hands.
“There are so many hurts that circumstances and the world inflict upon us, we need the constant reinforcement of encouragement.” –Billy Graham
To all reading this today: Know that you are loved. Don’t ever forget that Love came all the way down here to earth to help us in our helplessness.
Now, pass it on! Get busy!