Everyday Love

to be loved, as to love.

My friend Patti once told me that it only takes one person to love you to make all the difference in the world. Just one. It could be a mother or father, grandparent, or cousin; a neighbor or teacher, maybe. If just one person loves you, really loves you, it’s enough to keep you grounded and give you a chance for a good life.

My friend Jeanne says that some people don’t hold onto love the same as others. In her words, “Loving is like pouring water into a bucket. Some people have holes in their buckets; no matter how much love you pour in, you can’t fill their bucket.”

Love can’t be explained easily or completely, but it’s everywhere and easy to spot. It’s at the mall, even if it can’t be bought. It’s in schools and libraries, Dunkin’ Donuts and baseball fields; you can find it on the train and in the airport.

Lack of love can’t be explained easily or completely, but it’s everywhere and easy to spot – in school hallways and locker rooms, at the dinner table and in the car, at the beach and birthday parties.

I know two things about love: 1) there’s never been a moment in my entire life when I haven’t been loved, and 2) there’s never been a moment in your entire life when you haven’t been loved. We have been loved by God from the beginning, and will be loved from life into death and beyond. If we are lucky, we’ve been loved from the moment we first drew breath by our family and friends, both human and animal.

So many have loved me so well, and my bucket is full. I ask for the great favor of loving others as I have been loved, to make a difference this day and evermore. Amen.

Lord, Make me an instrument of Thy Peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

This prayer is attributed to Saint Francis. He was born in 1181 or 1182 into a wealthy family in Assisi, Umbria. He grew up in comfort, turned into a rowdy youth, and eventually looked for glory on the battlefield. His life plan altered when he encountered God. In prayer, he heard God tell him to rebuild the church. He devoted himself to a life of prayer, poverty and service. He is the founder of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), usually called the Franciscans. He died in 1226 after a life devoted to God and neighbor, human and animal. His life, work, and words have inspired countless numbers of people.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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