Love one another as I have loved you

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“This is my commandment:  love one another as I have loved you”

This is surely one of the most powerful and most challenging lines in all of scripture.  Note that god does not say, “This is my suggestion.”  He does not say, “This is my recommendation.”  He does not say, “Here’s a pointer that I think will help you out.”  He says, “This is my commandment:  love one another.”

And he goes on to spell out just what kind of love he’s talking about.  He’s not talking about the kind of love you see in the movies or on the soap operas.  He’s talking about the kind of love he showed when he stretched out his arms on the cross and gave his life.  “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Love one another.  Care for one another.  Affirm one another.  Speak well of one another.  Avoid negative humor — humor at the expense of someone else.  Avoid sarcasm.  Avoid “put-downs.”

When you wake up each morning, say to yourself, “I’m going to be a person who speaks love, affirmation, and praise.  I’m going to build others up, not tear them down.  In this cold, impersonal world, I’m going to dare to be different.  I’m going to be someone who loves.”

There is tremendous power in this kind of love.  There is unspeakable joy in loving others, and in being loved by others, with this kind of love.

Gratitude towards life

Gratitude-rock

When I go out jogging in the morning, I sometimes notice how much weather influences people’s response to life and to one another.  When it is gray and rainy, many people look unhappy.  When the sun is out and the temperature and humidity are comfortable, people are smiling and calling out to one another, “Hello isn’t it a lovely day.”  For me, a lovely day is any day I wake up.  If I’m awake, I’m grateful to be alive and to have another day to experience life.

I speak as a realist, not an optimist.  I know that the longer I live, the more problems I will have.  So what is there to be grateful for?  I am grateful every day for the opportunity to have more problems, to learn how to live with them and rejoice in them.  That is enough, but there is more to be thankful for.  Every day is another opportunity to love and interact with God’s creation, and on some days to be a co-creator.

The weather or the events of the day do not determine whether I am grateful for my life on that day. If your gratitude depends on what life gives you or what other people do for you or to you, you will be disappointed more often than you are grateful.

But you can learn to feel grateful by rethinking your attitude towards life.  First, remember that contentment lies in giving.  If you know that giving is better than receiving, then you can feel grateful for what you are able to give others.  This does not mean you ignore your own needs.  You will decide what to give and how to give it, and then at the end of the day you will be grateful for having had the chance to give in your own way.  Remember, we all have something to give, and our ability to give is not related to our finances or physical strength.

Second, be grateful simply for being alive.  When you are grateful for life, pure and simple, your life becomes one you can be grateful for.  That may strike you as circular or even backward logic, but your attitude really does have an effect on how things work out.  When you can’t change your life and other way, you can still change your attitude. When you do, your life changes. You find more chances to love, and you will be surprised to se how much more love is returned to you.

 

I’ve learned…

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If I’ve learned anything from life, it’s that sometimes, the darkest times can bring us to the brightest places. I’ve learned that the most toxic people can teach us the most important lessons; that our most painful struggles can grant us the most necessary growth; and that the most heartbreaking losses of friendship and love can make room for the most wonderful people.

I’ve learned that what seems like a curse in the moment can actually be a blessing, and that what seems like the end of the road is actually just the discovery that we are meant to travel down a different path. I’ve learned that no matter how difficult things seem, there is always hope.

And I’ve learned that no matter how powerless we feel or how horrible things seem, we can’t give up. We have to keep going. Even when it’s scary, even when all of our strength seems gone, we have to keep picking ourselves back up and moving forward, because whatever we’re battling in the moment, it will pass, and we will make it through. We’ve made it this far. We can make it through whatever comes next.

 

 

Your worth

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They say never give up,
Never give in,
Keep fighting that fight,
So the devil doesn’t win.
Through the hurt and the pain,
The sorrow and the shame,
The one thing you need to remember,
Is that tomorrow is never the same.

Hold on to your hopes and dreams,
For your fears are less than they seem,
So to all of those who feel like they are losing the fight,
And to those who feel like there is no hope in sight,
Take a minute to look at the sky
And remember that there’s something
Out there bigger than you and I.

Just like today,
The sun will shine again,
Through the clouds and the rain,
The sun still remains,
And all the darkness will fade away.

So hold your head high,
And feel the warmth,
It may remind you,
What you are truly worth.