Taking Up the Challenge of Loving

Frequently, we miss the beauty of life surrounding us. Near my home are beautiful hiking trails that snake through a small forest near a bustling university.

The woods are quiet and offer time for quiet reflection  and observation

of the various trees surrounding you. Occasionally, I will see a passerby who frequently

smiles or utters a greeting; some will even stop and chat briefly. These are all gifts, as we literally share the paths  and  sometimes briefly our individual journeys on that day. As Henri Nouwen says we do not have to travel abroad necessarily to appreciate the

people and places in our own area. Truly, our senses may be heightened however, when we do travel to another place that is quite different from our own. For example, in Costa Rica, I appreciate the very grounded authenticity, of the Latin populace who welcomed us to their country and who emphasized the importance of family and friends in their daily lives.

Nevertheless, we know that we cannot possibly meet many, many people- at least not in this lifetime. Thus when God permits you to encounter certain individuals, really listen to them. Life is so difficult that we need constant affirmations in one form or another. God has given all of our lives meaning,whether we realize it or not. Acknowledging someone

whether it be eye contact, a smile or a kind word may have a profound impact on an individual, particularly if they are hurting. No one has the right to say who is “in” or who is “out”. After all, the latter mentality presupposes a superior mentality on the part of the observer. WE may have different levels of responsibility in our careers for example, but are all equal in the eyes of God. Mother Theresa says that God is not interested in how many degrees you have or how much money you have, but whether or not you love other people.   Yes we have to compete for jobs for instance, but we can still be respectful to one another if we recognize our common humanity and the divine spark that resides in each person. Let us strive to love one another every day.

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