Holding in the Center

Spring Flower Show February 2020 Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The Bible study I’m leading during Lent is called Reckless Love, which made for quite a conversation at our first session. We were supposed to come up with  a item which would remind us to begin each day with love. The year I retired, I visited an Amethyst mine in Canada where you could take home an ice-cream bucket of stones for $25.  I thought an amethyst stone would be a great reminder for my group.  But the group kept growing and I needed more similar sized stones. At first this was going well. I dropped the stones in a paper bag on the garage floor and I got some good size pieces. Then I hammered a bit, and got a couple more. I quickly discovered that hammering amethyst tucked away in granite created the disconcerting smell of burning matches. I did manage to get enough until a few more people signed up. This time I took three stones out. But no matter how often I dropped them on the cement floor, or hammered them, or tried to strategically place a screwdriver and pound away, the stones remained solid.  What I have left is rock which has been tested and tempered . . . Rock that holds in the center. I’m looking at these pieces of amethyst with greater respect.

Our association changed snow plow companies in the fall. They refuse to plow any part of a driveway that has a car parked in it,  all of which left my nearest neighbor with a driveway packed in ice. I was heading out to lead the first session of my Bible Study when I spotted my neighbor chipping away at the ice on our common neighbor’s property. I saw her demonstrating love in her care for the young man who lives between us.

As the Coronavirus has spread and changed the way we are living, the lessons of my Reckless Love study, are reminding me to put love first. Social distancing complicates care today, but small acts of love are never far away. It’s as simple as the “checking in with you” phone call I received this morning – when I’m the one who usually does the checking in. I see strangers offering to get groceries for people who are isolated. Friends are using social media to offer help.

I’m inspired by the people of Italy, who in a precarious time, have found a way to lift spirits by singing, dancing and playing music from their balconies. I’m encouraged by the dedication of those tending the sick, searching for a cure and developing vaccines. Like the amethyst rock, which is defying all manner of stress, my faith reminds me nothing in life or in death can separate me from God.

The Psalmist says it so well:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

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