Such a gift . . . Part 3

Home at last. Well back to Massachusetts at my sister’s for awhile before returning to our actual home in Maine.

Our time abroad was so wonderful in so many ways. I had actually not anticipated our trip much beforehand. I had been preoccupied with so many issues that I was really feeling if I went fine, if not, that would be fine too. What I realized when we arrived in Ireland, however, was that it was a very good thing for me to take a break, physically and mentally, from my usual days, not only to get a bit of a rest, but also to reset my perspective.

I love my life. I really do. As you know from my weekly writings, it is rich to overflowing with relationships and activities that are so blessed. There are times of struggle, too, which are all part of everyone’s lives if we live deeply. Yet when we step out of our routines and widen our viewpoints, we not only gain a better understanding of our own part in the bigger picture, but we also are reminded of how meaningful each of our lives is when we join them with the efforts of others. Each of us is as a part of an enormous jigsaw puzzle, one in which we can most meaningfully appreciate the splendor of the completed picture when we remember our lives are just small, though necessary parts.

As I traveled abroad, I was reminded of the danger of parochialism. I remembered the comments of friends worried about my travel to Europe during Covid when, in fact, Ireland’s and Portugal’s approaches and precautions regarding Covid far exceeded what I experience in the U.S. Through hours of talks on history of these lands, the centuries of our American history were but a blink compared to the thousands of years of history of these countries. Yet in these stories of other countries I saw the truth that history repeats itself. Clearly, the seemingly new and greater challenges we seem to think face us today are not unlike the many times in history of previous generations who faced overwhelming hardships and felt exactly the same way in light of the horrors of their days. I was reminded of our often egocentric, somewhat self absorbed, perspectives.

Through the beauty of the trees and waterways that had withstood mankind’s often chaotic and destructive choices I could see the constancy of our Abba tending His created universe despite all the mistakes of mankind. I was calmed and centered watching the beauty of nature from the windows of the quiet bus rides giving my mind and spirit time to rest and experience His calm.

Yes, I am home now, facing the multitude of emails and phone calls that have awaited my return. I still am excited to continue my efforts to serve in the many ways I do. And yet, my mind drifts to the giant jigsaw puzzle as I think now and then of the enormous gift our Abba has given us to each make a difference. I am reminded that even the smallest act, when seen as part of a bigger picture, is critically important to create the picture. A parent’s loving care of a child, serving to nurture another, is one piece that connects that child’s impact on others, and so it goes on and on with every act we do. As we serve by addressing the needs of our community, the pieces touch and interlock even more broadly, and so it goes. The more we serve, the more we think of others and interconnect, the more spectacular, and complete, the results.

What an overwhelming thought to consider the impact if each of us woke with the thought, “How can I serve Him today? We can do so in seemingly little ways and in even more meaningful ways as we grow in Him. Small acts are big when focused on serving others. Each of us has been chosen to do so and in many ways if we think in terms of serving. What an overwhelming thought to consider the impact not just of what we each do, but also, the interconnectedness of each of our doings, in our families, in our communities, in our country, in our world, perhaps in our universe and beyond, decisions and actions that co-create with our heavenly Father, as we live lives filled with love of each other, connected throughout the world.

Act small. Think big. Think Him.

Shabbat shalom.

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