We recently were offered a last minute opportunity to visit our children and grandbaby to give them a hand as they prepare for a trip abroad. Sid and I had just decided to chill out a bit at our home in Maine since life had been a bit hectic recently. However, when given the opportunity to see our loved ones, and be a help to them at the same time, there was no hesitation – we were on our way!

The very day we got the call, however, we were invited to a couple events at local neighbors’ homes that seemingly really would have been fun. Although we didn’t doubt at all our choice, it was interesting that one of the get togethers was a party celebrating a Danish custom of burning a witch in effigy to keep away evil spirits. Our neighbor assured us their bonfire would have no witches. Yet the thought did cross my mind that somehow I felt HaShem was leading us to the more redemptive and love filled trip to see the grandbaby and kids.

And the very day we decided to visit them, Sid noticed on Facebook that the youth he had been a big brother to through his church some twenty years ago was getting married that day! A further “coincidence” was that the wedding reception was to be the very weekend of our trip. It turns out our kids live just a couple hours from where the wedding party was to be held so Sid planned to see his little brother for a bit too when we visited our family. Needless to say, the time he spent there combined with the time we could help our children ready for their trip was filled with love and deep connections to loved ones.

Sid’s time in Binghamton was especially redemptive. He had had no real contact with the young man he had mentored so many years ago. To see him now with his life really turned around, and for Sid to hear what a difference he had made was like a healing balm to Sid. Not to mention others who walked with Sid during some tough times for him, the death of his 5 year old daughter, were there for Sid. HaShem used the invitation to help my children as a launch point to also minister to Sid.

Coincidence that the wedding reception for Sid’s little brother in Yeshua was the very weekend and so drivable from where our kids live? Sid’s outlook on life has been reset in a way so very filled with a reminder of how loving others is so powerful, the point not only brought home by his little brother, but also, by his old friend Ken who ministered to him as well. Loss changes us profoundly, making us even more aware of His presence in our lives, the need for Him, the work He is doing in us. So blessed when we take the opportunities to allow Him to help us in these ways, using our choices, with people and situations He provides.

Our lives are filled with choices. It became clearer and clearer to me as the days unfolded that choosing opportunities to love others (rather than celebrate witch burnings, though perhaps an extreme example to make the point clear) leads us closer to Him. As you are given choices this week, I encourage you to let the love of others be your guide.

Shabbat shalom.

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