Friends For Always

“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”
Luke 4:24

A recent email exchange with a childhood friend turned my thoughts to the old neighborhood and someone I’ll never forget. I’ve told you about Glenda before, nonetheless, I can’t resist…

Glenda and I had been classmates from first through sixth grade. We played together whenever we could. During sixth grade, we endured some troubles. Glenda began to blossom into a young woman quite noticeably and I managed to annoy our teacher on a daily basis regardless of my genuine effort to do just the opposite.

One day, Sister announced that we must read the essays we’d just written to the entire class. Since Glenda and I were shy, we trembled in unison at the thought. When it was my turn, I managed not to fumble. When Sister called Glenda, I closed my eyes and prayed that she would do the same. A giggle from the back of the classroom interrupted my prayer. A second giggle prompted me to open my eyes. By the time I focused on Glenda, everyone in class was laughing, except for me. When I noticed that Glenda’s blouse had unbuttoned, I was mortified for her. Fortunately, Sister took control and sent Glenda and me into the hallway.

While I explained what had happened to Glenda, Sister mercilessly reprimanded the rest of the class. Poor Glenda sobbed until I convinced her that we were the lucky ones because the rest of the class was in trouble. In the end, our classmates ostracized us for a bit because we “got them into trouble”. Never mind their cruel laughter which caused Glenda’s tears. As for Glenda and me, our friendship grew stronger and Sister managed to muster a bit more patience when it came to judging my behavior.

Dear God, thank you for helping me to put my friendship with Glenda ahead of my standing among my classmates. Help me to put my friendship with you ahead of everything.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

G… God Who Is Love

For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds,
the flock he guides.

Psalm 95:7

G is for God… and goodness, graciousness, generosity, genuineness, genius, gentleness, gladness, glory, grandeur, growth, gumption and a gaggle of other nouns. In preparation for this writing, I perused my thesaurus in search of a word for “love” which begins with “g”. When I failed to find one, I searched synonyms for “love” with the same result. In the midst of my effort, it occurred to me that the single “g” word which defines love is “God”. No other term or label aptly describes God’s most precious gift to us.

I’ve been aware of God’s love for me for as long as I can remember. Deep within, as miserable or as elated as I may be at a given moment, I somehow know that I’m not alone. I’m convinced that God is present outside of me as well. In spite of the negative forces which sometimes lurk nearby, God remains in the air I breathe and in all of creation. I admit that even my most threatening nemesis houses God deep within. God created everything. As a result, God’s DNA, more precisely God’s love, remains in everything and everyone.

Some early church thinkers believed that God’s love is so perfect that it is irresistible. They also believed that a soul who doesn’t accept God’s love in this life has the opportunity to do so in the next. This Twenty-first Century thinker is convinced of the same.

G is for God and God is Love. Love for you. Love for me. Love for everyone and love for everything.

Generous and Gracious God, thank you for your love.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Friendship That Lasts…

“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”
Luke 4:24

A recent email exchange with a childhood friend turned my thoughts to the old neighborhood and someone I’ll never forget…

Glenda and I had been classmates from first through sixth grade and we played together whenever we could. During sixth grade, we endured some troubles. Glenda began to blossom into a young woman quite noticeably and I managed to annoy our teacher on a daily basis, regardless of my genuine effort to do just the opposite.

One day, Sister announced that we must read the essays we’d just written to the entire class. Since Glenda and I were shy, we trembled in unison at the thought. When it was my turn, I managed not to fumble. When Sister called Glenda, I closed my eyes and prayed that she would do the same. A giggle from the back of the classroom interrupted my prayer. A second giggle prompted me to open my eyes. By the time I focused on Glenda, everyone in class was laughing, except for me. When I noticed that Glenda’s blouse had unbuttoned, I was mortified for her. Fortunately, Sister took control and sent Glenda and me into the hallway.

While I explained what had happened to Glenda, Sister mercilessly reprimanded the rest of the class. Poor Glenda sobbed until I convinced her that we were the lucky ones because the rest of the class was in trouble. In the end, our classmates ostracized us for a bit because we “got them into trouble.” Never mind their merciless laughter which caused Glenda’s tears. As for Glenda and me, our friendship grew stronger and Sister managed to muster a bit more patience when it came to judging my behavior.

Dear God, thank you for helping me to put my friendship with Glenda ahead of my standing among my classmates. Help me to put my friendship with you ahead of everything.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Try Prayer

Cast all your worries upon him
because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

A recent encounter with my one-time nemesis reminded me of the difficulties which once characterized our relationship. Regardless of my effort, I could not dispel the friction that stubbornly remained between us. Though this tension hid beneath the surface of our encounters, it left me exhausted every time.

It was nearing Lent a few years ago when I decided to tackle this problem head on, not through a grizzly encounter, but through prayer. I promised to pray for my adversary and myself whenever a negative thought about her emerged. Difficult as it was, I diligently implemented my plan on Ash Wednesday. By mid-Lent, my prayer had become habitual. By Good Friday, I had not only begun to pray for my friend –Did I write “friend”? I had also begun to replace my negative thoughts with her positive attributes. A few weeks after Easter that year, I realized that I had developed sincere affection for this woman. On this anniversary of our renewed relationship, I cannot help thinking of my friend with a smile.

I admit that I have tried praying my way to friendship a few more times since this first effort and it has worked every time. I wonder if others deal with me in the same way?

Loving God, thank you for hearing my prayers and for inspiring my efforts. May I always find creative ways to love those you have given me to love.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved