Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy Monday

Happy Birthday "Turtle"
Greetings friends!
We've just returned from a conference in Disney! So I admit that while I could have written another Faithful Friday post, I instead opted to take advantage of a parkhopper pass and check out Epcot & Magic Kingdom.

Alas, I'm a weenie. I barely survived the tiniest rides, and I kept my eyes closed for all of Space Mountain.  Good thing we scored free tickets from a friend because pricey theme parks are lost on me.  So after dinners in "Japan" and "China," zooming through past and future, and "hang gliding" through Cali, we have our feet firmly planted back on Tallahassee soil.

The trip was a good motivator to get back into finishing some art projects.  Just small works really, but ones I put off none the less.  It's  been fun, and it actually got me started on a few other things I'd been wanting to do but putting off.  Hence, there's an orangutan & a fox in the works.

Today, however, I'm celebrating the birthday of an old friend whom we'll call "Turtle," if from afar.  I go back and forth about Facebook; it tends to be creepy, but every now and then it helps me reunite with lost friends.  Even more rare are the re-connections in which you discover that in all your years of growing apart, you somehow grew together.  If you're lucky, like me, you discover that your friend has grown into a remarkable young woman, full of creativity, and someone who's turned heartbreaks into motivation for second chances.  Turtle is, and perhaps always was, courageous.  In her willingness to share her stories and her art, she's inspired and encouraged me to share mine.

So chickadee, here's to another year of you, another year of opportunities.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Faithful Friday: Love is Kind- Part 1

It's been a long period of silence, and I do sincerely apologize.  Two months ago I wrote about patience, and I suppose I've accidentally tested yours as I fell away from blogging after planning to discuss kindness.  I did write that post, but the conviction and the events after made me hesitate to post it.  Today I'm "publishing it" because I've run out of excuses not to.

Thinking about kindness in the context of 1 Cor. 13:4- especially it's placement in defining love as first patient, second kind- well, it blows me away.  It's convicting, because I tend to go around life thinking I'm a pretty good person-but this kind of biblical loving kindness demands so much more than I truthfully want to give.  Months ago, in preparation for this post I wrote this:

"Kindness implies generosity and goodness.  Like patience, it is characterized by gentleness, mildness, indulgence, understanding, and tolerance.  It is also characterized as affectionate, altruistic, amicable, benevolent, benign, bounteous, charitable, compassionate, congenial, considerate, cordial, courteous, friendly, good-hearted, humane, humanitarian, soft touch, softhearted, sympathetic, tenderhearted, and thoughtful. 

True kindness, Spirit-filled kindness, the kind that is supported by patience is miraculous.  It is a selfless kindness to freely give despite one’s suffering and the circumstances that one endures, to be kind when the temptation is to hoard all of one’s resources and energies to overcome one’s own battles.  At the deepest levels, this Loving Kindness responds with goodness, tenderness, and compassion even in the face of maltreatment.  This kindness is not tit-for-tat because love is not tit-for-tat.  This kindness is healing and it's tough.

Love that is patient and kind requires that in our persistence we keep a soft touch- be unwavering but not tenacious.  Love does not return maltreatment for maltreatment. Love requires that our actions and our best selves aren't reserved for specific situations or groups of people, the people whose actions we understand and therefore accept.  

Blessedly, we’re not expected to love like this on our own.  As we are filled with the Spirit and encounter God and his ultimate sacrificial love through Christ we become more adept at loving one another. We learn. Moment by moment. Prayer by prayer.  Opportunity by opportunity.  We will fail, but He will not.  In His grace and forgiveness He will use our failures as teachable moments."

{Continued in Faithful Friday: Love is Kind- Part 2}