This week has been strange. A sudden death. An international disaster. A dramatic change in a long term relationship. I’ve been mostly sad and mad, by turns. A joy to live with, no doubt. Yet the truth most evident seems to be the shock of the reminder that our lives are not really our own, or more specifically not ours to own. Which brings me to Caring, a Character Pillar in the Elementary school’s Character Counts program. My youngest was awarded a red plastic bracelet congratulating him on displaying Caring to his teacher and peers. Yea!! And it made me think…
When I think about caring lately, I think mostly of caregiving. The services provided to the people around me through duty, or mercy, or love though not so much love in this context. It is in giving care that I show love and I’ve discovered in myself that these are two very separate things. When I care for people because I love them, or am showing them the love of Christ, I am truly caring about who they are and not just the tasks that need to be done. When I’m caregiving I’m efficient, practical, serving but not so much caring as doing and sometimes bitter about the amount of time it is taking to serve them rather than investing in the care of another human being whose life will someday end maybe sooner than any of us expect. When in confusion, I read. And this is what came from my latest book: Imagine That: Discovering Your Unique Role as a Christian Artist by Manuel Luz
This is Christ working in us. We begin in brokenness–broken in spirit, broken in sin, in a broken relationship with God. And Jesus brings us into wholeness–to be whole in spirit, whole through restoration, and whole in our relationship with our grace-filled God. We are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). We are transformed (Romans 12:2). We are sanctified through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Not that we are perfect, and not that we have arrived. But as Christ followers, our art (me: lives) should express the journey toward wholeness that we experience in our lives. Each of our stories is a part of the meta-narrative of God’s redemption of humanity, His love of mankind. (page 152)
I easily forget how fragile life is in the assumption of my daily busy-ness. I arrogantly overlook how much God loves others and what great lengths He went to on behalf of us all as I strive to accomplish my own to do list. I lose sight of the value of my time, energy and money being in faithfully following the Lord’s guiding so that the people around me feel cared for, not just given obligatory service. So that each one may feel loved by the One who can, and does, love them better than I could ever show. Blessings.