Loss-child

All We Need is Love

Ricky. Arturo. Maria. Rob. Howie. John. Real people that I have met on the streets this year. Real people dealing with pain.

I now visit the city of Austin monthly. If you spend any time downtown, you will see the many homeless tents. Today they were surrounding the City Hall in protest as I walked into a salon to get a manicure. Ironic. The juxtaposition of wealth and poverty. Seemingly two different worlds.

Jesus says, “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

A long time ago, I decided to lean into this love Jesus calls us to. I was in college. Buying a sandwich for a man in the grocery store; buying groceries for a woman on the corner; buying a burger and fries for a man at the convenient store. I never give out cash, but I do buy a meal or groceries. 

Since I have lost my son, I have been bolder to share my story and to ask about their story. I have realized that I have pain and that they likely have pain too; I deal with shame and maybe they do too. We both likely want to feel better and to have a sense of dignity as a human being. Commonalities-no matter race, ethnicity, social status, economic status, education, etc, etc.

So, if we are walking to get a meal, I ask them to share their life story. John was a Coast Guard boat operator with three kids. Ricky was a 22-year old who got kicked out of his house and had four siblings. Maria, a mother from Honduras, with five children to feed. Each person has a story and so do I. 

I ask them to pray for me and tell them that I will pray for them. I mean it and we usually shed a few tears together. Maria sobbed for me. I am grateful for these conversations. I tell them about Jesus and that He is helping me through my crazy pain and that He cares for me and for them. I want them to have HOPE and PURPOSE.

How I wish I could solve the problem of homelessness. I have visions of counselors on every corner, going to the library to ask for access to the computers for job searches, and all kinds of ideas. I read that there is a wonderful truck ministry that brings meals to many locations throughout downtown. But, all I really need to do is love people, engage, and be bold as I go, one person at a time.

Contributor-L. Vincent

Photo-L. Vincent

Loss-child

Here Comes the Sun

This morning the sun rises on Mother’s Day. That song by the Beatles came to mind—-

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

The song is a happy tune about coming out of something difficult (a long cold lonely winter). Some of us are at the beginning of the long cold lonely winter: can’t see a glimpse of sunlight. Some are in the middle: seeing a few days of sunlight. Some are having more sunny days than dark. But, having hope that the sun will come one day helps!

And, it’s all right. Wherever we are in this grief journey. “It’s all right.” You can make it through the darkest, hardest of days. It may not feel like it, but you CAN!

Leading up to this day,  I have been thinking about what the Lord has in store for me for the next 40 years.  What CAN I do? Instead of focusing on the difficulties of the past (the long cold lonely winter), I need/want to focus on the possibilities of the future (here comes the sun). 

Life with God doesn’t start in heaven. For me, it started 33 years ago. A purpose with things to do. He has JOY, fulfillment for me to experience here on earth. 

I acknowledge the hurt, the missing, the wishing it were different today; but I can’t change it. Just now, a picture of my son called “Eyelashes in the Sun” popped up.  I had specifically placed him on the bed trying to take a picture of his very long eyelashes in the sun. I can see his baby hands, nose, cheeks. My beautiful baby. I want to touch his baby face. Even as I write, that deep hurt aches. I miss him dearly. My husband and I have a deep cry looking at the picture together holding each other. At every turn, there is a reminder. I can be grateful for this memory and the love we shared. But, I cannot bring him back. I can’t change the past, but I can look to the future.

What do I know that I CAN do as a mom?

Titus 2:3-5

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

I CAN teach what is good!!! I CAN be reverent. I CAN not slander or be addicted to much wine. I CAN follow the Lord having character (even in the middle of my suffering). I CAN love my husband and children encouraging others to do the same. I CAN be self-controlled, pure, busy at home, kind, being respectful to my husband helping others to do the same. I CAN pray for younger people to love and have HOPE.

I have made it through a year and nine months of the most excruciatingly dark days. The sun is beginning to peak out. I am grateful and it’s alright.

Contributor-L. Vincent

Photo-L. Vincent