(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Until A Road Becomes A River
By Marta Oliveira
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’
– Mark 12:31
‘To love your neighbor as yourself’ is a simple calling and yet, many times it can be the most difficult thing to do. However, in obedience, we can love because God loved us first (1). As we walk on the road of love, we’ll find out that this calling is not only about us being instruments of God’s love towards others but is also about us being objects and receivers of His perfect love. The following 4 stories show different times when choosing to take this road is not easy. It’s almost like you have to fight against yourself to put one foot in front of another and be able to take the first step. But by God’s grace, we walk on it, until the road becomes a river that flows directly from His heart.
~TO IGNORE: A SOFT KIND OF HATE ?~
(inspired by Matthew 5:43-47 MSG)
You know those things you see coming from afar and you just stand still, play dead, and hope they pass you by without realizing you were even there? And by things I mean people? It’s like a weird phenomenon with no logical explanation. You barely know each other and just the sight of that person ruins your day. You don’t want to talk, nor even know what to talk about, and you wonder if they feel the same way about you. But somehow, for whatever reason or strange coincidence, they just keep coming your way. You see them on the street, the supermarket, the bus…you name it. It’s so evident that you can’t pretend it’s not happening and definitely, you can’t ignore them. And maybe that’s the point. To not ignore them. Maybe just the simple fact that you acknowledge them and give a ‘hello’ wrapped in kindness, that’s all it’s needed.
~KNITTED TOGETHER IN LOVE~
(inspired by Colossians 2:2 AMP)
I once heard that families are like islands, born together but slowly growing apart. That’s incredibly sad, I thought, but somehow that’s the reality I see around me, the reality I feel inside of me. It seems bigger than you, just like an uncontrollable natural force that works against us, exactly like the islands, pulling us away from each other. There’s no lack of good reasons or excuses to drift with the pull and hope, just hope, you’ll land someplace better. But isn’t that just hopeless in itself? Is it even possible to appreciate the beauty of any other place, when inside you’re so numb by disconnection? What if instead we anchor ourselves and resist the raging waves of pride, offense, or unforgiveness and just allow God to knit us together with the unbreakable strings of love?
~MODERN DAYS SAMARITANS~
(inspired by Luke 10: 29-37)
Some situations seem to come into your life at the worst possible moment. The moment when you are so busy trying to figure out your issues that everything else seems like an interruption, something that will slow you down or take you off track. You mean no harm, you wish you could help, but now it’s just not the right time. Or is it? Could this be exactly the thing you’re supposed to do? What if you say ‘yes, I will help you only to find out that they are actually… helping you? What if we lift our eyes out of our problems or plans, and stretch out our hands as instruments of love and care for others? Then maybe we can see clearly and further, and understand that what we took as an interruption was always meant to be the right track.
~LAUGHING AT THE FUTURE~
(inspired by Proverbs 31:25 NLT)
There are things we think we’ll never be able to do. No matter how hard we try or how badly we prepare, deep down we know we’ll never be ready for it. The kind of things that cause you nauseous just by thinking about it, and make you run with all your strength in the opposite direction. It takes faith to embrace such a journey and face your fears, to enter the dark place of another soul and just stay there, lighting up the darkness with a light that it’s not your own but that God, so graciously, placed inside of you. It takes faith to follow God into such a place and hold on to the song He gives you for that night. Until out of a sudden, the morning rises and the wind blows and we, like little children that just got a surprise, hold our hands and can’t stop laughing as we look at the future.
1- 1 John 4:19