An elderly gentleman held the door as I gingerly balanced my son’s breakfast in one hand and my hot coffee in the other. We were both clad in full face masks but I could see his kind heart through this thoughtful gesture. It had been a hectic morning with the builders arriving just after dawn followed by loud banging which echoed through our home. I tried to concoct some type of breakfast for the kids, before driving my son to work, but was unsuccessful in the midst of the chaotic kitchen renovation. Rushing out to our favorite local coffee shop, my frazzled nerves soon relaxed when a stranger took time to offer me kindness. In these uncertain times, do you find yourself thinking of others?
It has been quite awhile since I’ve written a new blog. Choose Joy followers know that I wait to feel “inspired” before putting words to paper. During a recent walk with my dog Hannah, I was roused by something I heard on a wonderfully interesting podcast. This insight on the scripture below has really helped me to make sense of the past few months which have been filled with unexpected changes and unwelcome plans.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. ”-Revelation 3:20
The COVID-19 virus has been a tumultuous time for people across the world. Folks from every race and background have suffered major life changes because of this pandemic. Some people have struggled in small ways while others have fought just to stay afloat. Through some of my volunteer work, I’ve had the privilege to lend a hand where I can. But it is never enough – there is always someone in need, hoping for help from a stranger or friend. Most of the people in my world (including me) are struggling just a little. They have plenty of food and shelter but things that they counted on like going back to college on campus, won’t happen this fall. They also can’t travel, meet friends whenever they want, go out to dinner easily, attend a movie or have a party. These are just the little inconveniences of our world. Not too bad when you think of the folks who are trying to pay rent, buy food or pay their utility bill. This reality is the pain that has been on my heart and in my prayers since the pandemic began last March.
Before he was known as Pope Francis he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. During a talk he gave to his fellow Cardinals, before being elected Pope, Bergolio referenced Revelation 3:20. He agreed that we could interpret the scripture this way, “Jesus is inviting us to open up the door to our hears and let him in.” But, he challenged his fellow Cardinals, “Is Jesus knocking at the door to be let out into the world?” The moment I heard this explanation I shouted, “yes” out loud. I can’t explain why it struck me so intensely but perhaps it was a divine moment when God was trying to encourage me with a hopeful message. I firmly believe that during times of unrest, we are called to be bearers of light to those around us. My beautiful mom taught me this important life lesson! We must turn away from self and turn toward the needs of others in order to bring Christ’s light, peace and lasting joy to a world in desperate need. From personal experience, when I focus on my own pains and struggles, I am miserable. My back pain is always present, whether I give it attention or not. Through this insight from Bergolio, I think that God is inviting me, and all of us, to turn away from what ails us and turn towards those more in need at this tough time in history. In doing so, we are opening the door and letting the light of Jesus out into every corner of the world! This light can look as simple as a smile and extra tip to a restaurant worker, delivery of a bag of groceries to your local food pantry or donation to your favorite COVID relief charity and homeless shelter.
We all face many challenges these days. We worry about our children, our spouses, our health and all the changes that have occurred because of the virus. But perhaps God is asking us to trust in the midst of this hideous storm, to remember that he is always with us. Instead of focussing on our own needs, perhaps those of us with the ability to “let out more light” should do so – especially now. I believe that in opening the door to Christ’s light – letting it out every day – we will share and find the peace that has eluded us. Recently, I experienced that light from a lovely elderly gentleman at a coffee shop. Let’s knock down some doors to let the light shine bright!