Time To Love? Always!

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:8

Sometimes, circumstances around us and circumstances within our own hearts evoke feelings far removed from love. When violence and hatred touch those we care for or those who cannot defend themselves, it’s difficult not to feel hatred toward whoever is responsible. At the same time, we’re frequently amazed and inspired by victims who have been ravaged by the evil deeds of others and yet find it in their hearts to forgive. A few weeks ago, I referenced Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust Survivor who found it in her heart to forgive her captors and to teach others to do the same. Corrie understood quite well that it is always time to love, even when it requires forgiving the seemingly unforgivable.

There is something deep within each of us which calls us to find God’s love in the moments of our lives. Though I cannot explain why some of us experience that love more tangibly than others, I am convinced that God’s love is there just the same.

It is suddenly clear to me that the most important purpose of my writing is to spread the word regarding God’s love for us and God’s presence in each of our lives. I’ve been inspired by the good hearts, words and actions of those around me all of my life. Hopefully, my words do the same for a soul or two who reads them along their way.

Loving God, each of us is called to touch this world with your love. Inspire us with whatever means necessary to do so.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Time To Be On Our Own

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

Ecclesiastes 3:5

My need for order in my life makes it unlikely that I’ll ever embrace the opportunity to “scatter” stones. I’m far more likely to arrange them in neat piles or rows -depending upon their size. I’m even less likely to choose to be far from embraces. The human touch is extremely important to us all and I cannot imagine ever situating myself far enough away from my fellow humans to preclude hugging.

As I wrote that last sentence, the image of my mom an hour before her death came to mind. When she drifted into a coma the day before, we knew that her time left could be counted in hours. Though we all had agreed to leave our mom for the night, I couldn’t bring myself to do so. I had stayed another forty minutes or so after my sisters left when I realized the error of my ways. You see, when our mom received her terminal diagnosis, she was very specific regarding where she would spend her last days. The underlying message was that she had no intention of breathing her last in any of our homes. She couldn’t bear to leave us with that memory. My presence at her bedside had obviously interfered with my mom’s intent. After kissing her one last time, I drove the thirty-minute ride home. About ten minutes after I arrived, the phone rang. My mom had taken her leave of this earth shortly after I’d left her.

Sometimes, we need to leave the proximity of those all-important embraces in order to deal with our most important work. In the end, there are some things which we must attend to alone.

Patient God, be with me as I figure out when to embrace those you have given me to love and when to leave them in peace with you.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Here’s To You!

Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness…

Psalm 100:1

Today is my sister’s birthday.

Rita was fifteen-going-on-sixteen when our dad passed away. As the eldest of the six of us, she understood too well what was happening and felt the pain of this loss deeply. During his year-long illness, Rita became our mother’s right-hand person. Though she still needed nurturing herself, my sister tended to the rest of us and shared her part-time wages when money was tight. As I consider my own teens which unfolded years later, I suspect my sister missed out on many typical teen activities because of our family circumstances.

Decades later,when our brother battled with his declining health, Rita spent time with him. When our mom fought her final illness, Rita assisted with her care. When our younger sister received a terminal diagnosis, Rita drove her to doctors’ appointments and treatment to keep her company. In the midst of all of this, Rita remained a supportive parent, sibling and friend to the rest of us.

The good news is that Rita also rises to the occasion when fun is involved. As the keeper of family traditions, she sees to the propagation of our annual family picnic. Over the past few years, she has also become the family historian. She completed our dad’s family history and then did the same for our mom’s side of the family.

So, sister of mine, I thank you for everything. I also wish you many more years to come, for your sake and for ours!

Dear God, thank you for my sister Rita and for all of the people who rise to the occasion in good times and bad.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Time To Love

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:8

Sometimes, circumstances around us and circumstances within our own hearts evoke feelings far removed from love. When violence and hatred touch those we care for or those who cannot defend themselves, it is difficult not to feel hatred toward whoever is responsible. Still, we are frequently amazed and inspired by victims who have been ravaged by the evil deeds of others and yet find it in their hearts to forgive.

There is something deep within each of us which calls us to find God’s love in the moments of our lives. Though I cannot explain why some of us experience that love more tangibly than others, I am convinced that God’s love is there just the same.

It is suddenly clear to me that the most important purpose of my writing is to spread the word regarding God’s love for us and God’s presence in each of our lives. I have been inspired by the good hearts, words and actions of those around me all of my life. Hopefully, my words do the same for some of you.

Loving God, each of us is called to touch this world with your love. Inspire us with whatever means necessary to do so.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved