Tuesday, August 30, 2011
A Lfeboat Called HOPE
Lately, I've posted about being Lost and Found...something that still really resonates with me even after some time has passed since my active addiction days. One thing that never diminishes for me in any way though is the connection I seem to have for those people who are struggling in this life, those who are indeed LOST, forgotten or perhaps misplaced by society, folks who live on the fringe or very edge of what's acceptable or even desirable. The unwashed, unwanted, unloved masses who get passed by for one reason or another...
It could be addict/alcoholics, or some suffering from Depression, perhaps they just feel like a misfit and they don't know where they belong. In our fast paced, busy world we rarely stop for a second and think about those people who just don't "fit" for whatever reason. What about them, huh? Doesn't God love them?
He does...I know he does...the thing is he wants me and you to love 'em too...that is something I haven't been very good at in my life up until now. I'm really trying to change that...but it can be a challenge.
I think that sometimes being LOST just means not feeling like you fit, so you withdraw from the world in a way until it always passes you by. I feel challenged to remember EVERYONE, no matter who they are...I need to start listening, start talking , be a friend to them. I haven't done a good job of loving my neighbor lately...have you? It ain't easy, is it.
Funny but "loving my neighbor" is something that I have always felt strongly about, even long before I followed Jesus. This being the case, I wonder why I never did a very good job of it...more often then not, I stood in judgment of them, as if they somehow didn't meet MY impeccable standards and somehow were less then desirable. What a joke I was!
One of the greatest gifts that I have been given is I now see myself reflected in the lives of others...as if I'm tied personally to every single person I meet. Responsible to God and God alone to love them as I would love myself. That is an incredibly high standard to uphold...on my own I would surely fail. Good thing I'm not ON MY OWN today, eh?!
Not that long ago, I rarely thought much about the people I met or even the folks I already knew. I didn't think about how they might be feeling, if they were troubled or lonely or perhaps lost...this stuff never entered my thought process...ever.
Today, as if by magic...it is the first thought that comes to mind...I wonder who they really are...how they are. Are they hurting...do they need anything, can I help? It is THAT simple to care...ask the questions and respond. And I have found that people will indeed respond. Most people today I've found, don't feel listened to...a wonderful gift to give another person in the world is our attention...just simply listen to them.
Their reaction can be enlightening, for sure. I think it often tells me that they are used to being ignored. That's an easy fix then isn't it? Pay attention...
The idea of a lost soul is one that really haunts me today. I think the reason it affects me like it does is because I have been there and I know how empty loneliness can feel. I know the heartache of one who fell through the cracks of our society, and watched the world go by from the outside looking in.
That experience also taught me that the antidote for loneliness is not complex, not difficult or expensive...it's LOVE. LOVE is the key that unlocks the door of those who are lost. When LOVE enters a person's life, well the sun begins to shine again and just about anything starts to seem possible. Hope is a powerful potion, many a shipwrecked life returned to sea in a lifeboat called HOPE. Mine did, perhaps yours can too...